Turn your Empathy into Compassion to reduce Burnout!
Do you ever have days (or weeks) when you feel like everyone’s emotional sponge? Are you the ‘go to’ person that’s a ‘good listener’?
Do people walk into the office/ zoom call and offload? They will likely leave feeling a little lighter, meanwhile you may feel a little heavier.………and then in comes the next person with something else for you to listen to and take on board.
As an empathiser, what tends to happen when people share their stresses/ worries/ sadness with us, is some neuron (brain cell) mirroring occurs which can cause burnout for the empathizer. This mirroring is designed to help us to understand which can be useful however, if we do this too many times a day or week is can become exhausting and overwhelming.
• Empathy- is the ability to take the perspective of and in some cases vicariously experience the circumstances or emotional state of, another (Baron-Cohen, 2006).
• Compassion- is taking a step further- it’s when one not only feels empathy but also has the desire to take action to help alleviate the suffering of another.
How can we still support others, without it taking so much from us?
By turning Empathy into Compassion!
Whilst empathising can lead to burnout, compassion creates feelings of warmth and a motivation to help others. Compassion is more action based.
Neuroscience supports that through developing compassion it can lower stress hormones, and boost immunity, and may even reduce your risk of heart disease.
So how can I cultivate compassion?
• Ask how you can help; don’t assume you know what wanted or needed- this in itself turns empathy into compassion- it’s more action based!
• Encourage cooperation instead of competition in your team.
• Cultivate a genuine curiosity about the individuals on your team.
• Lead by example- treating others with compassion is contagious.
• Be mindful of boundaries- avoid being an emotional sponge.
• Make sure when people ‘share’ they then work through potential solutions with you and leave with a plan for them to action!
If you would like to know more about how you can cultivate compassion for you and your team email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.