Categories
Holidays Mental Health Recovery Teen Activism Wellness

Practicing Kindness, Compassion, and Generosity Every Day

Kindness
Kindness (Photo credit: -Reji)

Every day is a day for practicing kindness, compassion, and generosity. In fact, these qualities and practices shouldn’t be relegated to once a year around the holidays. However, that’s often the time when we hear about it the most.  Around Thanksgiving, there’s a flood of people who commit to feeding the homeless. Ironically, that’s the one time of year that the homeless aren’t actually seeking food. The shelters, the food banks, the plethora of good Samaritans are all providing that one hot, nourishing meal. The day after Thanksgiving, however, many of us move on with our lives…until next year, when we commit to feeding the homeless of helping the helpless.

 

What happens if we consciously choose to practice kindness and compassion in this way every day? What if we decide to be of service, and practice kindness, compassion, and generosity as a way of living our lives? Would we be happier? Would we be less stressed? Would our mental health improve or at least be less overwhelming? I would garner a resounding yes to these questions.

 

Consciously choose to be kind, compassionate, and generous…every day:

 

By doing so, we have the opportunity to get out of ourselves and realize that we are not, in fact, the center of the universe. In the AA big book, alcoholics (and I am going to include addicts as well) are referred to as “selfish and self-seeking” or as the “actor, director, and producer” of their own show. By choosing to be kind, compassionate and generous in our daily lives, we have a chance to overcome this state of mind. Being of service is key.

 

Practice Joy:

 

Happiness is contagious. If you can find one joyful thing to focus on or go back to during your day, your day will be brighter. Surround yourself with joyful people, have random dance parties, revel in the little things that bring you joy. I giggle every time I hear my dog snore, or when little kids laugh, or when my son cracks a joke. Joy is everywhere, even when things feel dark.

 

Practice Gratitude:


Pay attention to the little things and find gratitude in that: the way the light hits a flower, the fact that you got a parking spot…right in front, waking up at home with family, seeing your kids, a shared smile with a stranger, or a shared joke with a coworker.  The list can go on. Essentially, begin looking at the seemingly banal and find some gratitude there.

 

Things that have gone wrong or which present difficulty for us is also something to be grateful for: These are often our greatest teaching moments.

 

Thanksgiving may have passed, but your ability to engage in compassionate acts, kindness, and gratitude are alive and well.  These practices contribute to better mental health, a fuller life, and a higher level of optimism. Being present and honoring what’s happening right now is a gift and an opportunity to open your heart.  When you show someone kindness, they are more apt to show someone else kindness. It’s a wonderfully positive domino effect!

__________________________________________________________

Great read and inspiration:

4 Happy Feelings That Are Contagious

Emotions Are Contagious–Choose Your Company Wisely

Categories
Recovery Self-Care Wellness

Cold Season: Invokes a Deeper Need for Self-Care

Folks, it’s cold season and that means now’s a great time for some extra self-care. The changing of the seasons always brings about a higher chance for allergies and colds and even the flu. With a few self-care tips, we can slow down, lessen the severity of, or even prevent a cold. Keep in mind that colds are airborne, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid them. We can, however, bolster our immune systems in the following ways as a preventative. Check it out:

 

  • Lower your stress. Start with taking more walks, taking time outs in situations that overwhelm you, or saying no more often. When we push ourselves beyond our bounds for long periods of time, our nervous systems get taxed and that will have an effect on our immune systems. Self-care is imperative, especially as a means of overcoming chronic stress.
  • Sleep! If you are sleep-deprived, your immune system gets stressed out, which increases its vulnerability to stress, illness, and burnout. They say no less than 6 hours a night and no more than 8 is a good start. Sleep helps your body function optimally.
  • Eat more antioxidants, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. With the accessibility of so many healthy food options, eating wisely and sustainably is easier than it once was. Nourish yourself with sustaining foods like hearty soups– chicken soup still has magical qualities when you feel a cold coming on!
  • Smoke less, or don’t smoke at all.  Smokers, you are at high risk. Smoking damages the lining of your nose and throat, eliminating the protective barrier, which is there to prevent infection. As a result, smokers get more upper respiratory infections than non-smokers. Those frequently exposed to second-hand smoke will have similar vulnerability.
  • Wash your hands. A lot. Remember how I said colds are airborne? Well, doorknobs, railings, shared computer keyboards are places viruses like to hang out.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Drink a minimum 8, 8 oz glasses of water a day. Some say, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. Your total intake of water will vary based on activity levels, etc. But the base rule is that minimum. Water moistens the respiratory tract and helps it do its job. Drink up!
  • Be kind to yourself. Getting sick is not an opportunity to beat yourself up.
  • Ask for help. Time to call in the troops and tap into your resources.
  • Stay at home if you get sick. In this case, sharing is NOT caring.

It happens: we get colds. We are in shared spaces at school, work, and home, and this doesn’t include all of the public places we traverse during our days. Invoking a sense of self-care and having a heightened awareness of how to do so will benefit you in the end. You may prevent a cold, lesson its intensity, or brave the misery with more compassion than you thought possible. Taking care of ourselves is another piece to the recovery puzzle.  Be well!