News Archive — July 2019

Rethinking the Path to Empathy: When it's Hard to Connect, Step into Your Own Shoes First

EmpathyWhat is the path to empathy? We have all been urged (or at times, chided) to "step into someone else's shoes," But just as we might strain to comprehend the extent of the physical pain someone is experiencing when they look so normal, so like us on the outside, we can strain to fathom the extent of emotional distress others endure in the absence--to us-- of a good enough cause. In other words, try as we might, someone else's shoes just might not fit. That's OK. We don't have to understand what someone else is feeling, we just have to want to. Instead of doing the far stretch into someone else's shoes, as fellow human beings we all understand suffering-- whether from anxiety, or loss, or pain, so we can step into our own shoes, flip through our own feelings of vulnerability and find a "good enough" empathic match. Here are some ideas to run with (in your empathy shoes!). Here's to less worry and more empathy all around.

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Looking At Anxiety Through the Lens of "Little Panic"

Little Panic"Panic is hard to understand if you haven't experienced it," this is what a twelve year old girl recently told me through her tears, upset that her parents can't understand her and so can't help her feel better. Her parents  (and the millions of other parents of kids with anxiety) are upset because they want to empathize and help, but don't know how. How can parents get up to speed so that kids aren't feeling lost and alone with frightening symptoms and experiences that they themselves can't understand? A new memoir called Little Panic by writer and mental health advocate Amanda Stern gives us some powerful answers. Little Panic illuminates with poignancy, clarity and wit, Stern's experience of and ultimate triumph over growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder. Stern's spot on descriptions of the struggles of anxious kids have become my go to for parents who want to understand what anxiety feels like to a child, but importantly, Stern's story and her life will inspire adults struggling with anxiety to see that with knowledge and persistence you really can free yourself from anxiety and live the life you want. Please check out Little Panic!

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