Riess (Integrative Group Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa, coauthor), a professor of psychiatry at Harvard, brings together neuroscience, sociology, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory to explain how nourishing empathy can lead to a healthier life. Actively engaging in empathy helps people recursively by easing and deepening everyday interactions, Riess explains. Empathetic behavior is more than just sympathy or considering another’s perspective; it is, she writes, relating underlying feelings to others in order to establish mutual humanity, and sharing life experiences to stimulate learning and growth. To practice empathy, Riess recommends seven steps: make eye contact, be expressive, maintain good posture, create an affect, be wary of tone, hear the whole person, and be responsive. Riess also discusses the negative effects of social media, which she argues often increases neuroticism and diminishes empathetic behavior; to counter this, Riess provides tips for reducing screen time. In addition to her practical tools, she also asks open-ended questions intended for discussion: How do people create authentic connections despite the proliferation of smartphones? How can parents teach children to be sensitive without being pushovers? Riess explains strategies for cultivating and employing empathy that will help readers looking for new ways of finding connection. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2018 Release date: 11/27/2018 Genre: Nonfiction
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