#BrainFactMonday – What Happens In Your Brain When You Feel “Empathy”?
Posted on 20th November 2023
What happens in your brain when you feel "empathy"? 🧠 And how can you eventually increase your ability to feel other people's emotions? (Hint: it's a vital skill for effective leaders nowadays).
Welcome to another #BrainFactMonday! Today, you'll learn how empathy works in the brain.
Empathy is rooted in a network of brain regions, with a starring role played by something called "𝗺𝗶𝗿𝗿𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗲𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘀." These neurons fire when you see someone else experience an emotion or perform an action, mirroring their feelings and actions within your own brain.
When you witness a friend's joy, sadness, or pain, your mirror neurons kick into action, allowing you to share in their experience. Here lies the beauty of humanity! 💕
When we empathise it means we are understanding, connecting, and responding to their emotions.
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀' 𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀?
👉 𝗖𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴: during a conversation, give your full attention to the other person while they're speaking, ask open-ended questions, and validate their feelings. Listen with your body as well, notice the variations of energy you perceive in the other person and in the room. This not only deepens your understanding of what they're saying and makes them feel deeply heard, but it also strengthens your connections. 🗣️👂
👉 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀: regular mindfulness practice can heighten your awareness of your own emotions and make you more attuned to the emotions of others. Our old, dear friend meditation plays a key role here as well! 🧘♂️🧘♀️
👉 𝗪𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗲𝘀: put yourself in someone else's position to gain a better understanding of their experiences and emotions. This helps you build stronger relationships and make more informed decisions. 👟👠
👉 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀: small acts of kindness can go a long way in showing empathy. Even the simplest gesture can make a significant difference in someone's day. 🤗💖