​​​February 17, 2018  Who are you? How well do you understand your character, feelings, motives and desires? I’m asking because if you want to better understand others, you must first understand yourself.
Get to know the different parts of your own personality, your tendencies and patterns. That’s called emotional intelligence; it helps you navigate relationships and the way you connect with others.
Self-awareness improves your ability to infer the mental states of others, a skill known as ‘theory of mind’ or empathy. Self-awareness and empathy are intimately connected. Once you are aware of what makes you who you are, you can understand differences between yourself and others and what makes them tick.
Not surprisingly, both self-awareness and empathy are considered to be two of the main pillars behind emotional intelligence. Empathy is technically other-awareness––the counterpart to self-awareness.
Empathy is not just about the ways you are similar to others, but how you are very different. It’s impossible to empathize if you think everyone is like you. If you don’t understand another perspective you project your perspective onto them.
If something is unimportant to you, closeness to a pet, for example, it will be difficult to have empathy for a person who has lost a pet. You may feel sorry for your friend’s sorrow but empathy isn’t in the mix.
You hear people say, “I feel your pain” when they try to empathize. But if they haven’t been in the same situation they can’t feel the pain. Sympathy is different than empathy.
Here are 5 effective ways to begin improving your self-awareness. Practice them often, even in the car:
Personality Quizzes (on-line everywhere)
Talk Less Listen More (really)


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​​​​Terry Martin Ph.D​


Reflections on Life

Bob Cayne

Your ​Healthcare Advocate

Bob Cayne keeps you up to date with the latest medical and health care news. His weekly column "Why Is That?" explores life's good, bad and ludicrous sides.

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Why is That?

The Latest Medical and Health Care News

​​February 17, 2018 Patients who suffer from anxiety describe feelings of tension, anxiousness, and concern. Some say they can calm themselves by rejecting or shrugging off milder forms and that may not be a bad thing. But panic attacks are another matter; they can be terrifying.
While anxiety poses problems, it has unexpected advantages. Physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, quickened breathing or a churning stomach are actually warning signs. Your body is sending a message:
"Hey! I’m talking to you! Is she still ignoring me? UGH! Ok body, it’s your turn. Make her feel like her heart will explode. HA! You stopped working overtime didn’t you? Gotcha! Now look…we need to talk…What? Now you’re hiding in a movie? Oh no you don’t! PANIC ATTACK!”
There’s a problem, pay attention and it won’t just go away.
Instead of fighting the symptoms figure out what changes you have to make. Respond wisely.
Find the hurt. The severity will be proportionate to the scope of what you have to address. If it’s a panic attack and you feel you’re going to die look for something BIG.
Anxiety messages stem from situations you chose to carry forward: a traumatic or painful event left unresolved, someone you have yet to forgive, perhaps a negative complex that’s hindering your growth.
Anxiety won’t hurt you severely nothing dangerous is happening it’s all in your head. But until you catch on, start listening and heal the source of the message it will keep spinning you around. It can be cyclic and it’s easy to feel haunted or trapped, but you are always in control. Whatever you are ignoring or avoiding will continue until you make adjustments and go about things differently.
Take a deep breath. Feel your feet on the ground. Listen to the message your body is sending. Focus on ways to overcome the anxiety and improve your life. Remember, you are in control.
All you have to do is listen.


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Bob Cayne