All of us have had times when we felt nobody really cared. You might have felt like you were totally on your own. You know the feeling: when things are kind of wearing you down, or you might be feeling some discouragement. You might have had some recent setbacks. Maybe you were trying to get yourself motivated to tackle some undesirable, but unavoidable project.
And we have all had times when somebody did care. And if it came at a time of discouragement, described above, it may have felt like a great weight was lifted. People describe feeling lighter, that being cared about gave them a real lift.
But does feeling cared about,
really make any real difference?
Turns out, feeling cared about might actually make a real, measurable difference!
Let me tell you about an interesting study that tested, if the patient feeling like the doctor cared, actually made a difference. (Fam Med. 2009 ; 41(7): 494–501.)
These were all patients with colds. Some of the patients got the standard treatment: a few questions about the symptoms, short exam, told the diagnosis and out the door. On the other hand, the test patients were shown empathy from the doctor with statements such as "I know how miserable colds can be!" "You should get over this pretty quick." Asking if the patient had any other questions, etc.
After the visit, all of the patients filled out a survey that measured how much they felt like the doctor actually cared about them. The patients that had the standard treatment felt less caring from the doctor than the test patients that were treated empathetically. The empathetically treated patients that felt the most cared about:
got over the colds in less time,
had milder symptoms,
and blood tests showed a stronger immune system response.
Not bad for just expressing a little concern and compassion!
What does this mean for you?
I don't think this power to help people, by being caring, is limited to doctors. You should try to be around nice people that actually care about others, including you, every day! If you are around caring people, you will be sick less often and have a stronger immune system. Caring people are healthier to be around!
And you should be a caring person that cares about others in your life! Does your spouse know that you care about them? Your children? Friends? Co-workers? Customers? Clients? Neighbors?
The whole world could be a much better place if people simply care about one another. People that feel cared about will be healthier and happier. Of course at times, that caring may need to translate into actions, IE actually helping others with whatever problems they may have. Talk may not always be enough.
What Can You Do to Make the World
a Better Place, Today?
Take care and BE HEALTHY!
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