Loyola Magazine

7 Habits to Cultivate Empathy

Carrie Fox, ’01, Leader in Social Impact Communications, Shares Expertise

Carrie Fox, ’01, is the founder and CEO of Mission Partners, a social impact communications firm and Certified B Corporation. A Loyola trustee who holds a bachelor’s degree in communication, Fox is author of More Than Words: Communications Practices of Courageous Leaders and co-author of Adventures in Kindness, which she wrote with her daughter Sophia.

Here, Fox shares seven ways to cultivate empathy and kindness into your everyday life—and why it matters.


Heighten Your Awareness

You never know what someone may be going through, so be kind, always. Be aware of how your neighbors, family members, and colleagues feel, and check in when they seem overwhelmed or distant. 


Seek Commonalities

Approach your day knowing you have at least one thing in common with every person with whom you interact. Seeing shared identities can help you connect more deeply with others and naturally promote empathy and cooperation.   


Give Your Full Attention 

Make each person you interact with your sole focus. Tune into what they say without interruption. 


Focus on the Face

If you notice that someone seems more distracted than usual, makes less eye contact, or looks away from you, they may have something more pressing on their mind. Use this moment to help someone feel seen and heard.


Share in Others’ Joy 

Empathy can also be experienced in response to positive emotions. If you hear someone celebrating a special moment, express your enthusiasm for their good news. What takes mere seconds is essential for the well-being of a relationship. 


Choose Gratitude

Life can be both/and. Even in busy seasons or when you might feel the weight of the world, we can take a breath, be present, and remember we have the power to choose gratitude—a key to achieving long-term happiness, health, and overall well-being.


Remember It’s the Little Things

A small act won’t change the big things, but it will matter deeply to those around you. As my daughter Sophia, says, “One kind act matters, but many kind acts can change the world.”