12 Heartwarming Quotes to Encourage Compassion for Others and Yourself | The Health Sessions

12 Heartwarming Quotes to Encourage Compassion for Others and Yourself

Compassion is a admirable trait that forms the heart of our society, religions and humanistic views. Our minds and bodies seem to be wired to care. When you see somebody else suffer, your brain reacts to their pain as if it was your own. Not only do you instinctively empathize with others, the part of your brain that wants to alleviate their distress also lights up. Studies show that when you feel compassion, your heart rate slows down and the bonding hormone oxytocin is released.

Tuning into other people’s feelings in a kind manner doesn’t just help them – it makes you feel good too. Feeling compassion can improve your relationships, boost your resilience and give you a more optimistic outlook on life – all factors that are linked to a happier, healthier you.

And the good news is, you don’t have to become the next Mother Theresa or Gandhi to cultivate compassion. Simple things like looking for similarities between yourself and others or really listening to what someone’s saying also encourages feelings of compassion.

In the Dutch language, there’s an important distinction between ‘medelijden’ (compassion or pity; literal translation: co-suffering) and ‘medeleven’ (sympathy; literally: co-living). It’s a good thing when you genuinely want to understand what somebody’s going through and taking action to help them, but that doesn’t mean you should take on their suffering.

Because compassion is about being kind to yourself too. True self-compassion is not the same as a narcissistic self-love, being easy on yourself or making excuses. It’s about paying attention to your needs and taking a caring approach, instead of a self-critical one.

Have a look at these 12 heartwarming quotes to encourage compassion for others and yourself. 

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8 Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don't Feel Like It| The Health Sessions

8 Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don’t Feel Like It

Do you secretly swear internally when someone cheerfully tells you you have so much to be thankful for?

When you’re going through dark times, practicing gratitude can feel more like a mandatory exercise than a genuine act. I mean, when you suffer excruciating pain every day, struggle to make ends meet or are grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s hard to feel grateful for the things that are going well.

And yet, that’s exactly what happiness research tells you to do. Study after study shows that gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to feel happier. Being thankful improves your mental health, boosts your resilience and helps you cope better with everyday stress.

“It’s not that happy people are grateful, it’s that grateful people are happier.” – Erik Barker

But how do you cultivate gratitude when you feel sick, sad, disconnected or cheated on by life?

Don’t just go through the motions. True thankfulness goes deeper than rattling off a list of things you know you’re supposed to feel grateful for, like having a roof over your head and food on the table. Practicing gratitude shouldn’t be a chore. You can only tap into a deeper experience of gratefulness when you sincerely like to make your life – and that of the people around you – better.

Here’s how you can feel thankful for the good things in life, even when life is hard. 

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101 Small Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your Health & Happiness

So you’ve begun the new year bursting with good intentions to eat healthier, move more and meditate daily. In your enthusiasm, however, it’s tempting to go overboard, trying to go from midnight-snacking coach potato to a gym-loving, juice fasting fit girl/guy in a few weeks time.

Unfortunately, drastic lifestyle changes usually don’t lead to lasting results. It’s much easier and more realistic to take small, doable steps towards your goals. So have a look at these 101 simple things you can do today to boost your health and happiness! 

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Writing Your Way to a Happy and Healthy 2017 | The Health Sessions

Writing Your Way to a Happy & Healthy 2017

It’s kind of an understatement to say that I love lists, notebooks and planners. As my husband jokingly says: you can tell Jen’s in the house by following the paper trail.

There’s something strangely satisfying and calming about putting pen to paper. And it’s not just me: studies show that regularly writing things down has several benefits for your physical and emotional wellbeing, from boosting your creativity and productivity to an improved mood, less stress and even a stronger immunity.

Now of course you can use digital planners and apps to track your habits, but it seems that writing by hand improves your memory, by combining neuro-sensory experiences and fine motor skills. Even doodling and free-hand scribbling can facilitate thinking, make ideas tangible and help you express emotions when you can’t find the right words.

So have a look at this list of ideas and tools to write your way to a happier and healthier new year! 

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How to Enjoy the Holiday Season When You're Chronically Ill | The Health Sessions

How to Enjoy the Holiday Season When You’re Chronically Ill

December, the month of celebrations. From the Dutch Sinterklaas, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years Eve , it’s the time for culturally-rooted festivities all around the globe.

But it’s little different celebrating when you’re chronically ill.

Pain, fatigue and other horrible symptoms can definitely mess up your plans and traditions. Depending on your personal health situation, enjoying things like shopping for presents, cooking an elaborate Christmas dinner, attending parties or even staying up on New Year’s Eve may not be an option – or one you pay a high price for with days or weeks of recovery time.

The trembling legs, relentless nausea or breathlessness won’t go away for a day just because today is a holiday and you want to celebrate. You still feel as good, bad or awful as you do every day, and it’s hard to keep smiling, enjoy the feast at the table and focus on sparkling conversations around jou when you experience throbbing pain or ’embarrassing’ stomach troubles at the same time.

So how can you make the most of the holiday season even when you’re chronically ill?

Read more >How to Enjoy the Holiday Season When You’re Chronically Ill