Empathy and Inflammation

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • New research found a link between empathy and inflammation, suggesting empathy may come with a biological cost.

  • The study analyzed data from a large, nationally representative longitudinal study tracking adolescents into adulthood.

  • Higher empathy levels were associated with higher inflammation marker levels 8 years later, but only for people with low depressive symptoms.

  • The findings suggest for non-depressed people, empathy may contribute to higher inflammation, which is linked to chronic diseases.

  • The study had limitations like using a single empathy measure and self-reported depression data.

  • More research is needed on the pathways linking empathy and inflammation, such as stress or intermediary biological processes.

  • The findings imply caring deeply for others may have health costs for some individuals, despite empathy being a valued trait.

Those of us with high empathy capacity as a gift require skillful emotional awareness and ways of tending to these feelings/energies without being inflamed or depressed by them.

EQ training.

As a child I was “schooled” in IQ-related skills. (Although honestly the schooling sucked for actually benefitting my gift of mental intelligence!)

What about EQ? What about the real skill of using our empathy to co-regulate, to bring circles together and hold (and maintain) we-spaces that serve all members?

It’s why I started the Circle so long ago. i wanted and needed and craved the Practice of circle tending. It’s isn’t an “obvious” skill based on what I see modeled almost anywhere in “popular” culture. Yet, for empaths who possess the gift of generous heartistry, to me it is far more essential to cultivate emotional skill than IQ.

What has been your experience?


What is meant by low depressive? I am not usually depressed but when I am it hurts. I do have inflammation.

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I think it means on the scale of low-moderate-severe depression.

AI: Here’s a concise differentiation of low, moderate, and severe depression symptoms:

  1. Low (Mild) Depression Symptoms:

    • Occasional feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
    • Mild fatigue or decreased energy.
    • Some difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
    • Changes in sleep or appetite, but not significantly impacting daily life.
  2. Moderate Depression Symptoms:

    • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
    • Noticeable fatigue or decreased energy.
    • Marked difficulties in concentration and decision-making.
    • Significant changes in sleep (insomnia or oversleeping) and appetite (increase or decrease).
  3. Severe Depression Symptoms:

    • Pervasive and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
    • Extreme fatigue, lack of energy, or motivation.
    • Inability to concentrate or make even minor decisions.
    • Major disruptions in sleep and appetite patterns.
    • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
    • Physical symptoms such as significant weight loss or gain, aches, and pains.