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Posts by Andy Smallman

Self Compassion

By Andy Smallman

Andy Smallman is a long-time educator, advocate for healthy human development and founding director of the Puget Sound Community School.

People who have experienced the death of a loved one understand what it means to feel as if one’s walls are closing in. The more recent the death, the more significant this feeling often is, although emotional reminders of the loved one sometimes surprise us years later by how powerful the feelings are.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

There is a reason that the word Connection is part of our name — Hope Connection. You could easily make the case that Connection is, in its own way, just as important as Hope.

Nowhere is the power of connection more apparent than in the difference between two seemingly similar emotions: Empathy and sympathy. Dr. Brene Brown has a wonderful video where she explores the difference between the two emotions, which she says “are not just two different approaches to confronting the emotional challenges of others; they are diametrically opposite responses in many important ways. Sympathy places another’s problems at a distance from us, places us in a position of superiority, and ‘drives separation.’ Empathy, on the other hand, requires that one internalize the feelings of another. That shared experience drives interpersonal connection.”

Shoulder Taps

Do you ever get an intuitive feeling, a little voice in your head, that tells you to do something, say something, that is completely out of your comfort zone? Have you ever acted on that feeling? Maybe you should, says Bill Hart, in this short but compelling video — Shoulder Taps.

A Moment’s Peace — Through Laughter Yoga

Using humor as a tool to cope with grief is closely associated with another movement: laughter yoga. A medical doctor from India, Dr. Madan Kataria, developed the practice of laugher yoga and it has spread across 100 countries. Adherents say that the scientifically proven benefits range from reducing blood pressure to strengthening the immune system. You can learn all about the techniques at the Laughter Yoga University.

One Thing You Need To Do Today

Author and former monk Jay Shetty has a message for those living alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently leading a 20-day, live meditation series on Instagram, he says we should strive to do one thing each day that brings us joy — and that despite social distancing, we can still nurture essential human connections. In this short PBS video, Shetty offers his…