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The Importance of Empathy

Connection is a vital piece of what enables us to flourish in life. We need connection—to our food, to nature, and to those around us. Researchers have even shown that social activities are associated with better cognitive function in older age. But while the simple act of spending time with others is a great way to connect, there’s another powerful tool we should all be making use of: empathy.

Empathy is the ability to connect with the internal state of another person. Specifically, it’s about sharing in the feelings and thoughts of other people—getting on their wavelength, so to speak. Our ability to use empathy is a key determinant in the quality of our relationships because empathy forms a bridge that allows us to bond more deeply. In support of this idea, more interpersonal empathy predicts greater satisfaction in romantic relationships, and it’s also linked to more supportive friendships. Continue reading

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Introducing the #BrainWash2021 Challenge!

The world has certainly thrown us a curveball, but there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel. And as we have been told so many times, when the world gives us lemons, we should make lemonade.

This is the reason we’ve created the Brain Wash 2021 Challenge. A program like this, designed to put us back on track, is certainly timely given our current situation. So, get ready because from December 20 to January 16 we are going to cover the waterfront in terms of all the lifestyle issues that have a huge bearing on our physical, as well as emotional, well-being. While each of you has likely seen components of this challenge in some of our previous content, packaging this entire body of information in the context of our individual response to dealing with a global pandemic is what this event is all about. Continue reading

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I Can Feel Your Sadness

“I can feel your sadness.” This is a declaration we are certainly hearing frequently these days. And it’s not to be taken lightly. Experiencing another person’s sadness, for example, and having the ability to share in their feelings is called emotional empathy. It is emotional empathy that helps us build emotional connections with other people and ultimately serves as the thread of our existence as social beings.

Our ability to share in the joy of another person’s success or achievement, as well as our sense of heartbreak when someone experiences a personal tragedy, are fundamental elements of our social fabric. Simply stated, our social existence depends deeply on our ability to participate in the emotional experiences of others. Continue reading

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“Actually, he may have a point.”

It’s probably been a while since you’ve heard someone say, “You know, he may have a point,” or “I see where she’s coming from, I never thought of it that way.” We are becoming an increasingly polarized society, digging in our heels with respect to our own beliefs, and closing ourselves off to any interaction with others whose beliefs may differ from our own.

Whether it’s left-wing versus right-wing, Democrats versus Republicans, or vegans versus carnivores, the ability to engage in interactive dialogue seems to be on the wane, and this is not a good thing. The ability to visit with the ideology of another person, especially when that ideology is contrary to our own, clearly offers a benefit in terms of expanding both our knowledge base. Just experiencing or attempting to understand the beliefs of another person allows us to refine our own framework for navigating the world in which we live. Continue reading

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What Makes Brain Wash Different

As I write you this post, we sit less than two months away from the release of my newest book, Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness, which I co-wrote with my son, Austin Perlmutter, MD. As we’ve been having more conversations about this book with friends, family, and this community, both Austin and I have come to appreciate that Brain Wash is a little bit different. 

Take, for instance, Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. This book provided extremely important information and lifestyle recommendations intended to help you live a longer and healthier life. These recommendations covered a wide array of categories, including exercise, diet, and stress reduction. But like so many books that are available these days, as well as online programs and health-related television shows, it’s one thing to receive this terrific information, but even the very best of information, like what we hope we portrayed in the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan,  is useless unless decisions are made to implement the recommendations. Continue reading