Five minute empathy hack – Getting connected

Self Empathy Hack from Wayne and Deb


Here is a five-minute Empathy hack that you can use in any situation to become more resourceful and discover a pathway forward that is empowering and grounding.  With the aim being making Empathy and Connection our default.

I use this everywhere. After eight years of practicing mind-body awareness and wisdom, I can now tap into where my body is at and witness the needs/values from a deeper grounded space I can make decisions that are more compassionate and serve others and myself better.

I use the technique below when I am:

  • At the gym when I’m not feeling so focused
  • In the training room when I am facilitating a group
  • In the Auckland traffic when I am stressed and moving from one destination to another dropping off and picking up kids etc
  • In sales meetings when I meet with potential clients
  • At home around the people I love the most and things are strained
  • In the office when I am unable to think up where to go next with a particular project

A more specific example is recently when I was one of the facilitators on the Discovery Programme for Teens (a seven day residential workshop)  and I was about to go up and deliver a very full on piece that I am new to. I was extremely nervous, shaky and feeling vulnerable. Once I had the microphone on and had tested it, I had 10 minutes before I was up on stage. Not a great state to be in when I’m about to go up before 60 people.

I then took five minutes and found a quiet place out back stage where I had some privacy. I then slowed my breathing down, scanned my body for tension, felt into the need/values and then asked myself how did I want to deliver this piece.

From this place of empowerment I felt really grounded and ready to go. I went up stage and delivered. It was not perfect and there was still lots to learn, yet I delivered in a way that really captured the teenagers attention and supported me in my learning process.

From experience I also know that even if we have no needs/values vocabulary just the connection to the body will support a shift in the thinking.

So here it is: “The Five Minute Self Empathy Hack”

1st minute – find a quiet space, sit, walk or stand in a place and focus on your breathing. Slow the breath down and deepen and take 10 full breaths

2nd minute – scan your body from head to feet and notice any tension or unease – the key is not to judge the tension or feeling just observe and notice.

3rd minute – where there is tension or unease, ask theses parts of you if there is any need/value they are longing to be met.

4th minute – just be in that space and observe the needs/values

5th minute – from this space consider a way forward in the situation you are in

Then move back to what you were doing with a deeper connection.

There are a number of other ways we can use our physiology to be in a more resourceful space. More on those in later blogs.

With practice this can speed up and I find now even within two minutes I can use this process and be more resourceful. Have a play with it see what you discover. I would love to hear your thoughts around how it goes.