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Empathy, Good or Bad?
Untitled Document


Could Caring Too Much Be Bad for your Health?

empathy, empathetic, depression, symptoms of depression, compassion fatigue, anxiety, how to cope with difficult situationsBeing a good listener is part of maintaining healthy friendships and relationships, so how can empathy be a bad thing? Talking to people about their troubles and understanding their anguish is an important part of communication, but sometimes other people’s concerns and negativity can take a toll on your own well being. When listening to others becomes a burden, you start to experience negative effects as well – chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety and sadness are common symptoms of taking on someone else’s troubles.


When you realize that you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to gain perspective and keep a healthy distance from the problem. Here are some simple ways to regain balance after learning about a difficult situation and how to cope with it in a healthy way:

Healthy Balancing Tip #1: Try a Deep Breathing Exercise

Inhaling and exhaling deeply can clear negative energy and help you think with a level head. Try a series of inhale-and-exhale cycles to replenish your brain and body with fresh oxygen and regain balance within minutes. This is an effective technique for reducing stress at any time of day!

Healthy Balancing Tip #2: Exercise Compassion for the Other Person

Being compassionate doesn’t mean you have to feel the same pain that the other person is going through; compassion means listening, understanding and affirming that the situation exists, and that this is a negative one. This can help the other person regain balance from the problem, but also help relieve some pressure.

empathy, empathetic, depression, symptoms of depression, compassion fatigue, anxiety, how to cope with difficult situations

Healthy Balancing Tip #3: Energize With Aromatherapy

Energizing your environment with some orange or citrus essences can help lift up your spirits and awaken your senses. Aromatherapy is very valuable for stress reduction and energy balance – take advantage of candles, essential oils, and other aromatherapy treats that provide you with a lift, right when you need it.

Healthy Balancing Tip #4: Set Some Healthy Boundaries

Avoid falling into a depressive rut from the other person’s pain by setting some healthy boundaries by engaging in meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other stress reduction techniques when you need to. This isn’t necessarily selfish – setting boundaries encourages you to respect yourself and protect your own mental health.

empathy, empathetic, depression, symptoms of depression, compassion fatigue, anxiety, how to cope with difficult situations

Healthy Balancing Tip #5: Take a Walk

Take a nurturing walk outside to get some fresh air and clear your head. Movement can be very balancing, and walking at a steady pace can really help you understand your feelings and sort out the negative energy you may have absorbed from the situation.

Healthy Balancing Tip #6: Write In a Journal

Jotting down your thoughts about a situation can help you make peace with what is going on, and gain deeper understanding about your position. You may soon discover that you are still an observer, and don’t necessarily need to become entangled in the emotional elements of the situation in order to help your friend, parent, or loved one.

Healthy Balancing Tip #7: Practice Meditation

Keep up with a regular meditation schedule that helps you relax and de-stress on a regular basis. Meditation can help you gain clarity and understanding about difficult situations and opens up your mind towards a healthier outlook.

Being empathetic is a valuable personality trait, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the emotions and energy of another person who is in pain. Learning how to take care of yourself – even when you’re deeply involved with someone else’s problems – is essential for your mental health and well-being. Instead of taking on the stress and problems on your own, use these effective techniques to maintain balance and perspective, and truly help the other person get through this difficult time.

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Article Written By: Sabah Karimi; Sabah writes on health, lifestyle and beauty on DivaVillage.

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