How to Build Your ‘Empathy Muscle’ in 5 Easy Steps

Building and nurturing empathy muscle can help you better connect with others on a deeper emotional level, should you strive to want to build important, lasting relationships of incredible value. 

How to improve empathy

How to improve empathy?

So how do you nurture an empathetic mindset? 

Have you ever found yourself compelled to better understand the inner workings of your friends and loved ones? Perhaps you are tired of non-resolved arguments, or maybe you are naturally curious as to what thoughts and feelings shape the wheels of the ever-evolving cultures from around the globe. 

Learning to nourish and express your empathy in practice is a wonderful way to not only grow as an individual but to further explore the way in which people from all walks of life interact with reality on a daily basis.

Here are some tips for those of you who want to nurture an empathic mindset, or want to start further opening your mind to the wider world. 

Recognizing a New Perspective

Many people are finding themselves confined to the digital world of social media and online sales platforms to go about their daily routines. Amid calls for global solidarity, it might be safe to say that the need for seeing the world through the eyes of others in order to empathize with those in similar circumstances is greater now than ever. 

Recognizing different perspectives can be a great way to help nurture your empathy in general, as it allows you to better understand the situational needs of others. One way you can strive to do this is by not isolating yourself from the rest of the world. You can do this by taking the time to catch up with old friends. One of the benefits of social media is the ability to remain connected with others regardless of physical distance and limitation. 

Actively listening to what others have to say can be a great way to increase your skills of empathy and understanding, which ultimately can lead to a positive gradient in terms of personal and mental development. 

Consuming world news from a multitude of different sources can allow you to gain insight into other cultures, thus enabling you to empathize with a perspective in a way that you might not have seen as possible before. 

It is important to note that: 

  • Each perspective is unique
  • Understanding takes time and application
  • You may be able to learn from a different or even opposing perspective from yours

Keep Your Mind Open

Keeping an open mind can help your mental health flourish.

Taking a non-judgmental approach to conversing with friends and family can help you to stay positive and optimistic no matter what life throws at you. 

It is quite probable that at one point or another you might have experienced increased levels of tension within your family. This is perfectly normal and keeping an open mind is a great way of working through feelings of friction and disdain. You can do this by: 

  • Being transparent with your feelings – being honest about how you feel and dedicating time to have a meaningful conversation can help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. This might seem like a difficult task in the heat of the moment, but the outcome can be more than worth it.
  • Letting them know you appreciate them – this can be a great way to maintain a happy household, where everyone can feel as though they are valued and heard. Making sure to listen and offer your support when it might be needed can go a long way towards improving your empathy.
  • Listen to constructive feedback – trying to see the other side of a tense situation can be difficult, especially when you might be feeling angry. Taking advice and criticism on board might help you to fully understand why undesirable situations have begun to arise. 

Expressing Your Gratitude

Letting people know that they are appreciated and recognized is a great way of nourishing your ability to empathize with others and their daily hardships. A thankful statement or gesture expressing your recognition can help people stay positive and motivated. 

Medical professionals around the world have been working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of others. Saying a heartfelt thank you to the nurses can be a great way to communicate your appreciation for the cause of healthcare that many hardworking individuals commit themselves to every day. 

Furthermore, taking the time to say thank you to your friends and family for their support can be a good way of letting them know that their voices do not go unheard. 

Remember to Take a Break from Social Media

It is possible that you have recently found yourself spending more time on social media. With increased screen time in general and a global increase in social media usage, it can be easy to fall into a self-perpetuating cycle of prolonged interaction with the various platforms available out there. 

It might be worth your time to note that this can have the potential to cause adverse effects on your mental health. Taking a break from the multitude of negative headlines can help you to combat feelings of anxiety and step away from the situation. Perhaps you can use the time you save to read literature on the empathic mind and start a journal. This can help you to externalize your thoughts and articulate them in a way that you feel comfortable with for future reference. 

Acknowledge Your Own Feelings

It is important to remember that your personal feelings are valid and worthy of acknowledgment. If you are feeling like you are unheard or suffering in silence, reaching out and organizing a time to discuss subjects with friends is a great way of eliminating feelings of isolation. Once you can manage to appreciate your own mindset, you might discover that you can empathize seamlessly with others. 

photo source | adobe 

READ NEXT: How to Stop Floundering & Take Control of Your Life

No more articles

100 000+ people follow Havingtime for daily inspiration, support, and motivation.

Get your FREE weekly havingtime newsletter on how to reduce stress, boost your self-esteem, get things done and live a much fulfilling life!