Posts

Sympathy is a Garbage Emotion

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

While working at Our Front Porch I have been able to hone some really useful skills, but one thing seems to stick out the most. Our Front Porch has given me an outlet to truly understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Some people see these words as synonyms, but they are quite different. There are four words that I would consider to be related, but distinguishable: pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Sympathy and empathy tend to be the two ideas that are intertwined the most. I would argue that empathy includes a component of connection and emotional intelligence that only comes from practice.

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 1

In this next blog, Kim, a friend of Our Front Porch who lives near Houston, Texas shares her experience of Hurricane Harvey and how it impacted her day-to-day life, her family and her community.

A home in Spring, TX during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP.

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Compassionately Listening

Listening with compassion sounds pretty straightforward, but it is often more challenging than you think. I have had lots of practice, especially when I’m working with disaster survivors, and I still have plenty of room for improvement. I have often gone back to this Dalai Lama quote as I think it so well describes how to truly be compassionate:

“Usually, our concept of compassion or love refers to the feeling of closeness we have with our friends and loved ones. Sometimes compassion also carries a sense of pity. This is wrong. Any love or compassion which entails looking down on the other is not genuine compassion. To be genuine, compassion must be based on respect for the other, and on the realization that others have the right to be happy and overcome suffering, just as much as you. On this basis, since you can see that others are suffering, you develop a genuine sense of concern for them.”

~ The XIVth Dalai Lama

Heather responding to a disaster as part of the Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team.

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Mindful Eating While Stressed Out: Part 2

Here’s more from our guest blogger, Paige E. Butkus, Nourished to the Core, LLC – Holistic Nutritionist & Yoga Teacher, on how to stay healthy when dealing with stress.

Work on keeping a healthy gut flora.

In order to combat stress we need all of our defenses strong including our gut bacteria. The microscopic bacteria that live inside of our digestional tract help us with more than you may know. Scientists have labeled the stomach our “second brain” for a reason. As much as our mind influences our body, our gut influence our mind. When our healthy bacteria are out of whack:

  • Our immune system is compromised.
  • Our digestion is weakened.
  • Our mental state and mood is negatively affected.
  • Our energy levels are reduced.
  • Our oral health is affected
  • Our craving for unhealthy food increases.
  • Women’s vaginal health is affected.
drinkingwater

Image Credit: Creative Commons

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Yoga: A Healing Practice – Part 1

Guest Blogger: Nora Josephson, MA, LPCC, RYT-200

“Try to do everything in the world with a mind that lets go. If you let go a little you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end”. –Achaan Chah

At this point in time, most people in the Western world have become familiar with the term “yoga”, however, there seem to be many varying ideas about the practice. People may often think of comfy yoga pants, or someone who is limber and flexible or possibly a monk sitting cross-legged, chanting “Om”. The truth is that anyone can do yoga! Many of you might be hesitant to try it out, or believe that you could in fact be a “yogi”, but if you can breathe…you can do yoga! “Once you rest your attention on your breath, everything else begins to open up with ease” (Stiles, 2012).

upwardfacingdog

Photo Credit: Erin Stotts

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Why I Volunteer with Our Front Porch

Guest Blogger: Erin Stotts, MA, LPCC

Being a volunteer for Our Front Porch is something I do with passion and purpose. It aligns with who I am as a person, a community member, and as a clinician. This adventure that started about two years ago has been everything I had hoped it would be, and much more.   Yes, Our Front Porch is an outstanding start up, but the reason I highly value it goes deeper than just being part of something new.

Erins blog photo

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Catch Them Being Good: How to Help Kids During Stressful Times

As a follow up to our last blog, Guest Blogger and Behavior Analyst Kristen Stine, M.ED provides some helpful strategies and tactics for parents to use with kids dealing with trauma and stress after a disaster.

kid playing

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons

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Stress After a Disaster: Not Just for “Grown Ups”

Guest Blogger: Lisa A. Mazzeo, LCSW, BCD

When adults feel stressed, they can usually pinpoint the related feeling as well as the cause. They typically take appropriate action and hopefully begin to feel better shortly after implementing a strategy like listening to music, walking the beach or going for a drive. They choose anything that might bring a peaceful feeling back to their overall being.

When children feel stress, the cause, identification and intervention is not always that simple. This is due, mostly, to the fact that children have limited vocabulary to express what is going on, underdeveloped coping mechanisms to deal with it and an inability to make sense of what is happening in their environment.

child angry

Image Courtesy of Flickr

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Dealing with Stress after a Disaster

Guest Blogger: Maggie Babyak, LCSW

They say that one of the top three stressors in life is moving. Your normal routines are disrupted, there are weeks of packing and planning to ensure that perfect move day. Then a furniture delivery is late and your carefully planned move day is disrupted. You become angry with the person on the phone who is just trying to help, you become snappy with your significant other and your stress level skyrockets. However, by the end of the day you are in your new home filled with your possessions, cozy in your beds and your family is safe and fast asleep.

Now imagine making eggs on the stove for the kids, rushing around packing their school bags, checking your work email, and getting the dog out the back door for one last run. Then you hear a beeping sound and turn around to see your kitchen on fire. Instead of scheduled moving trucks you have first responders running to your home to put out the fire. That night you and your family are sleeping in a motel or neighbor’s basement. You have nothing but the clothes on your back.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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