Empathy is not necessarily helpful

 

“Empathy is a distributed brain process” says the research team from the University of Colorado Boulder.

What does this mean? Empathy as an experience is not located in a specific region of the brain, rather it “utilises” the whole brain.

The researchers differentiate between empathic care – where empathy generates care and assistance and occurring in the part of our brain associated with value and reward; and empathic distress – where it triggers avoidance, fear and anger, and occurring in that part of our brain dealing with mirroring.

While there is little difference person to person as to the patterns for empathic care and empathic distress, what promotes the care element?

Check this out on Medical News Today.

Masculine traits contribute to mental health problems

 

Recent research from Indiana University Bloomington shows traditional stereotypes of masculinity are linked to mental health challenges. The greater the conformity to these masculine “traits” of “a desire to win, need for emotional control, and risk-taking” and “playboy behaviour or sexual promiscuity”, the higher the risk of mental health issues.

In 2015, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, film-maker, was inspired to direct “The Mask You Live In” to bring to light the narrow definition of masculinity in US society, and and its negative impact on men’s mental health and social dysfunction.

We can choose re-write the story of who we are and who we want to be, to be rid of the bonds of these unhelpful “traits” and “stereotypes”.

To read about men’s experiences of this, go to this article from the Guardian.

 

Depression caused by inflammation…

 

An alternate view on the cause of depression… it’s physiological. “Finally, we can say that depression is not always something that is only in your mind, it could be a problem in your body as well,”

For more, see this article in the UK Telegraph.

Pursuing happiness is going about it the wrong way

Show up to your emotions.  Sometimes we have to confront and get through or let go. The constant pursuit of happiness as a goal and the flip side of constant evaluating how or if you are ‘happy enough’ is counter-productive.

Susan David, Harvard psychologist and author of ‘Emotional Agility’, says in Business Insider,

… ‘showing up’ is stopping any struggle that you might have within yourself about whether you should feel something, shouldn’t feel something, should think something, shouldn’t think something, whether it’s a bad thought or good thought.

Just be.

Finding balance

 

Time is no longer the arbiter for what is ‘work’ and what is ‘family’ or ‘leisure’. The demand, and the rationale, for flexible work practice is on the rise.

Peter Hirst, Associate Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management states,

“Employers need to address these burdens not by seeing how time at work can be more enjoyable, but by identifying the ways that work requirements make life less manageable …”

and recommends the creation of support infrastruture as key, which includes prioritising inter-office communication.

“…it’s important to consider life outside the office walls and recognize that professionals with healthy and happy personal lives come to work with productive, positive attitudes.”

For more, see Hirst’s article on Entrepreneur.