Empathy Takes an Emotional Toll and People Are Avoiding It, Study Shows

Earth’s tipping points could be closer than we think. Our current plans won’t work

If there’s one thing we know about climate breakdown, it’s that it will not be linear, smooth or gradual. Just as one continental plate might push beneath another in sudden fits and starts, causing periodic earthquakes and tsunamis, our atmospheric systems will absorb the stress for a while, then suddenly shift. Yet, everywhere, the programmes designed to avert it are linear, smooth and gradual.

“A common sign that complex systems are approaching tipping points is rising volatility: they start to flicker.”

Current plans to avoid catastrophe would work in a simple system like a washbasin, in which you can close the tap until the inflow is less than the outflow. But they are less likely to work in complex systems, such as the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere. Complex systems seek equilibrium. When they are pushed too far out of one equilibrium state, they can flip suddenly into another. A common property of complex systems is that it’s much easier to push them past a tipping point than to push them back. Once a transition has happened, it cannot realistically be reversed…READ ON

Empathy Takes an Emotional Toll and People Are Avoiding It, Study Shows

There are few things as comforting as having another person take the time to understand what you’re going through truly. Being seen in such a clear way can alleviate the stress of difficult situations. However, such an expression can be taxing for the empathetic person. Unlike expressing removed compassion for a person, empathy requires a greater immersion into others’ struggles. This voluntarily brought on mental weight can make some people closed off to expressing empathy.

“Expressing empathy can be incredibly taxing and hurt a person’s well-being.”

In a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers looked at when and why people show empathy to others. Researchers asked participants to choose between an empathy and an objective deck when describing a person. People avoided empathy by only choosing the empathy deck about 29% of the time in the first study and about 30% in the second. However, it was easier and more likely to show in cases when they were close to the person discussed….READ ON

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