DeStress Monday at School

Flex Your Empathy Muscle

Try a simple empathy practice and explore the difference between empathy and sympathy in a short video from Brené Brown.

Help your students practice empathy with two guided audio meditations.

For Teachers

Given the busyness of our lives, we tend to get caught up with our own worries and preoccupations, sometimes forgetting to consider the feelings of others. This insensitivity can weaken our social connections and lead to miscommunication and conflict. The practice of cultivating empathy — or stepping into somebody else’s shoes — enables us to become more attuned to other people’s feelings and perspectives, especially when they are different from ours. This not only helps others to feel supported, it ultimately benefits our own lives by strengthening our relationships and inspiring collaboration, whether at home or at work.

To strengthen your bond with a co-worker or someone you casually meet this week, try this simple empathy practice:

  1. Bring to mind what the other person might be experiencing — challenges, stresses, etc.
  2. Imagine yourself in their situation and what they might be feeling.
  3. Wish for them what you would want for yourself, such as happiness or peace.

Discover the difference between sympathy and empathy in this great, animated version of a talk by self-esteem expert Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly:


For the Classroom

We tend to get caught up with our own worries and problems, and sometimes we forget to think about how other people are feeling. This can lead to conflict with other people and can hurt our friendships and relationships. When we remind ourselves to think about what other people may be thinking and feeling—even people who are very different from us—it can help other people feel supported, and it can strengthen our relationships.

These brief practices can help us to think about other people.

Thanks to Susan Kaiser Greenland, here is an audio activity that reminds us how similar we are to other people:

Thanks to Annaka Harris, here is an audio activity that helps us send out friendly wishes to other people:

Full Curriculum

See the full DeStress Monday at School Curriculum