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10 Easy Tips That Will Make You Super Empathic

10 Easy Tips That Will Make You Super Empathic

Do you have a hard time communicating with people who are in daily pain? Here is the problem with chronic wide spread pain. It is both physical and emotional and it can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress. This is why I came up with 10 easy tips that will make you super empathic.

A Man, in a State of Depression, Covers His Face With Both Hands
What Depression Looks Like

While most people may understand something like a broken leg, they have a hard time comprehending something that they can’t see.

Thus, it’s often difficult for pain sufferers to explain how they feel. The result is that chronic pain can lead to isolation and loneliness, partly because it’s difficult to get out but also because people withdraw into themselves.

A Photo, Transparent, Showing The Shy, Sick, Illness, of an Obsessed Man
What Obsession Looks Like

That said, it’s important for people to continue with their  lives as much as possible. However, what if you want to better understand  what life is like for a friend or relative who experiences daily pain.

In a previous post I wrote about a  technology that enabled you to see the pain of  others. In short, a game that fosters empathy for chronic pain sufferers.

As I stated to One of my Readers:

What I like about this technology is that it enables a non-pain sufferer to have empathy for a person who experiences wide spread chronic pain. The technology makes empathy possible by allowing anyone to “see” just how hard it is to maneuver your body at will when suffering from chronic pain. This has the potential to make a tremendous  impact in the field of health technology.

How The Game Works

The creators of the game ,in describing how it works, state :

In the game, participants interact with their altered virtual body — a silhouette they see in a virtual mirror — and complete object-oriented motor tasks. Then, using their whole body, they reach out to connect dots into a line which forms a meaningful shape related to a chronic pain experience.[1]

“Pain randomly attacks different parts of the body. In our game, we make pain visible with visual particle motions — they look a little like a glowing red ‘cloud’ ” Ulas explains. “The pain limits body movement and hinders the participant from reaching some of the dots.” [2] For more information, check out the game in the video below.

What if you are not in to technology and just want to know practical ways to become more empathic?

As mentioned earlier,  here are 10 easy tips on how to hone your empathic  skills to better understand the pain sufferer.

1)Cook pasta in a big pot. Ha? I see you shaking your head. No, I haven’t lost my mind. Stay with me. Take a long  look at that boiling pot of water that you are about to put the pasta in.

 

This Photo shows A Heavy of Boiling Water
A Heavy Pot of Boiling Water

Now consider what would happen if  you  suddenly experienced pain just as you were holding the pot to drain the water. You would probably  spill the water all over you and get burned. This is why some pain sufferers use the  microwave instead of the stove.  They want to avoid be burned.  Now you know.

2)Freeze some food and have it be available several days later.

Go ahead and freeze some of your food and save it for a day that you just don’t want to cook.  Once you have done that, you can better  put yourself in the shoes of a pain sufferer. Doesn’t it make sense that they would go ahead and cook a lot of food on a”good day” when the pain is less intense, and then have it ready when they need it?

3)Take a good look at all your cooking utensils. Imagine how some pain sufferers would struggle lifting that heavy pan.

A Photo Showing a Set of Small and Big Pans
Set of Small and Big Pans

Chopping those vegetables

Opening those jars

Standing for long periods

4)Now figure a way to sit while preparing the food, and use smaller pans. Some found preparing a meal difficult and struggled with things like lifting heavy pans, chopping vegetables, opening jars and standing for long periods. Cooking could be made easier by breaking tasks up, sitting to prepare food, choosing easier things to cook and using smaller pans.

5)Do something creative, particularly if you are having a bad day. You might want to write a poem, draw and paint, sing, as an outlet for your feelings.

This is a Photo of Someone Painting a Flower
An Oil Painting of A flower

Now imagine experiencing  more than just the stress of a crummy day. Imagine what it would be like if you had chronic pain. Now you appreciate  how engaging  in creative activities can help a pain sufferer cope with his or her condition.

6)Watch any Sport Series on TV. Tennis,  with all the celebrated rivalries and world famous tournaments, may be the best option. However, the important lesson here is having a better understanding of how huge it is for pain sufferers to be distracted from their  pain.

This is a Photo Showing Roger Federer in a Match at The Grass Court of Wimbledon
Roger Federer Playing at the Grass Court of Wimbledon

My mother, for example, is now enjoying The Australian Open. She loves to follow Roger Federer in his quest to win. She’s also a big fan of women’s tennis and is engaged  by the battles on the court. For a couple of hours a day she can forget about her back pain.

7) Do something With The GrandKids.  In addition  to experiencing the joy of laughing  kids— there are few thing as  uplifting as that—you’ll begin to become more empathic as to how activites  involving grandchildren  can help pain sufferers become more positive and less depressed.

This is a Photo of a Man Enjoying a Water Fight With Kids
A Man Enjoys A Water Fight With Kids

8) Do some Visualization Exercises. The next time you have a hellish day try this: Visualize a relaxing experience such as walking along a beach.

A Woman in Summer Dress Enjoys an Evening Walk on The Beach
A Woman Enjoys an Evening Walk on The Beach

Or sitting by a waterfall. You can try some relaxation tapes—guided imagery— to help you with the visualization.

A Serene Scene of Two People Sitting by a Waterfall
Sitting by a Waterfall on a Sunny Day

Hey, think of  a flash of bright  colors. Imagine how they can uplift your spirits.

9) Take a Drive. Hey, when was the last time you drove just to enjoy the sites? Take a nice trip around town and pay attention to the landmarks or parks that you just use to pass by. Do you know of a scenic route that you’ve being dying to explore? Go for it. You might find that it’s a wonderful distraction.

Peaceful Scene of a Jeep Moving Down a Country Road
A Jeep Moves Down a Country Road

10) Spend Time With The Family. Do you remember all those family gatherings you kept canceling  because life just got in the way?  Well, go ahead and attend the next family function. Apart from making dad and mom happy, you’ll become more aware  of how important it is for pain sufferers to reach out and not be left alone to deal with their condition.

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Conclusion

There you have it. You have learned 10 tips that can make you more empathic when it comes to pain sufferers being able to distract their  mind away from pain. Are there other  good distraction techniques that you have discovered?

I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

 

References:

  1. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-02-student-game-fosters-empathy-chronic.html
  2. Ibid

12 thoughts on “10 Easy Tips That Will Make You Super Empathic

  1. This is an interesting post you have written and great tips in being more empathic to chronic pain sufferers. Being able to visualise pain in a more tangible way can really put our selves in pain sufferers shoes.
    The game that allows you to see the pain of others is really clever and fascinating. The marvel of science!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Yes, I think the  empathy game that allows you to see the pain of others is a fantastic show case of how technology  can increase our empathy skills. It is indeed a marvel of science. 

  2. Hi I was most impressed with your site because it raised my awareness of several new issues. I had not previously come across the suggested game as a means of identifying and treating back pain. I do  suffer from some back pain so will re-visit your site from time to time to update myself about your recommendations. Thank you Alan

    1. Hi Alan,

      First of all, how are you feeling today? I know with back pain everyday is different. I hope today is one of your “good days”. That said, this site was created for people such as yourself to be acknowledged and be given the information to  better manage their  pain. Yes, by all means  feel free to come back anytime. I’m here for you.

  3. I love to paint, and it’s a great way for me to forget all the crap that I had to deal with that day. I can just let my muse take over and soon I’m in a very happy place. I can see how engaging in creative activities can help a pain sufferer cope with his or her condition.

    1. Hi Alexis,

      Creative activites such as painting or writing a poem have always been great outlets for people dealing with stress. It’s even more important for pain sufferers to find ways to distract themselves from their condition so that they can live happier lives.

  4. A wonderful imaginative post. I am a sport addict so I love tip 6–Watch any Sport Series on TV. When women’s Tennis is on, especially The US Open, I’m in the zone. I just block everything out including my Boy Friend’s text–well, he knows not to text or call me when I’m watching women’s Tennis. Anyway, I can understand how sports can be a welcome distraction for pain sufferers. Your tip has made me more empathic–Super? Well, I’ll work on that by following the other tips. Fun post that didn’t hammer me with a message, just got me thinking in a very relaxed way about seeing the world through the eyes of a pain sufferer.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for a very entertaining and empathic response. You have a very good sense of humor, and that will go a long way in your efforts to better connect with pain sufferers.

  5. Very interesting post that make you think of all the things that non-pain sufferers take for granted. I never considered the difficulty in preparing a meal from a pain sufferer’s point of view. Now I can see how like lifting heavy pans, chopping vegetables, opening jars and standing for long periods can be a daily challenge. Maybe, some of us who know a pain sufferer should offer to cook a meal for them. I think that’s gift that they would really appreciate it. Think I’ll do that. Thanks for the eye-opener.

    1. Hi Erin,
      Cooking for a pain sufferer sounds like an amazing gift to offer. It speaks to things that are truly meaningful for people suffering from chronic pain. Apart from having a break from cooking their own meal, I think the company of others plays a big productive role in helping them feel that they are not isolated. It’s really a wonderful gesture on your part that will do more good than you are aware.

  6. Good inspiring and motivational write-up. I liked reading this as much as I like coming back to your site for more.

    1. Hi Sou,
      I am a big fan of taking everyday activities that you already do and reimagine them as ways to become a more open-minded and empathic human being. I’m glad that the post inspired you. Cheers for becoming more empathic!

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