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