Do Something For Someone Else

Helping-HandAre you sad or bored or restless? Do you watch too much TV? Are you isolated? Do you have problems? Well there is a cure for all of that! Do something for someone else!

It takes your focus off of yourself and your own problems and helps you see that there are others who are much worse off. It also helps you make lifelong friends.

We, as humans, are here on this earth together, to help each other. No one should have to manage alone. Yet how many people are alone and forgotten? How many are overwhelmed with their responsibilities?

That was me….a single mother with four small children with no income and very low self-esteem. My own mother and my friends were my saving grace. I can’t even begin to tell you how they brought hope and joy to my life and helped me through that extraordinarily trying time. Each and every person who helped, no matter how seemingly small their contribution, is in part responsible for my incredible success today. They all helped bring me from a place of darkness into the light.

Since I’ve recovered, it has been my turn to pass it on. And each and every person I help in the future or have helped in the past will pass it on to the next person who will pass it on to the next. It’s a beautiful cycle!

Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than to make a difference in the life of another human. Opportunities abound, just look around. Take out the garbage cans for an elderly neighbor. Listen to a friend without interrupting. Volunteer at the soup kitchen, church, food pantry or YMCA. Watch children for a single mom so she can have a momentary break. Step in and give respite care for someone who is overwhelmed with the care of a sick relative. Give encouragement, it’s free and easy. How about a smile to brighten someone’s day?

What goes around comes around so eventually your kindness will come back to you, multiplied many times over. But even if that weren’t true, the joy received from giving with a pure heart is priceless!

Don’t Clean Your Plate

leftovers-on-plateDid your mother ever tell you to clean your plate? Well stop it! There’s an obesity epidemic in America and much of it is caused by well-meaning mothers. No, I’m not throwing stones, except maybe at myself. I’m as guilty as the next mom.

We called it “food wars”. With four children and three adults in the house when they were little, we went through gobs of food. “Waste not, want not” was spoken frequently. “Clean your plate, there are starving children in China” was lobbed at the children and laden with guilt for throwing away food. Fortunately, they came out unscathed and none are obese, but it could have been different.

The best way to stay healthy and happy is to watch your portions. Restaurant portions are way too large! If you eat out, share with a friend or wrap up half of the food for tomorrow’s lunch before you start eating. Or leave half of it on your plate.

Choose healthy alternatives to fried, greasy food laden with chemicals. Believe it or not, healthy food tastes better!

Your diet is what you eat every day, not a sporadic event in your life when you starve yourself to lose weight. That only serves to slow your metabolism so you regain it later when you return to poor eating habits. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat healthy most of the time and move your body. This is not to say don’t enjoy a small piece of cake at a birthday party. Of course you can stray once in a while. Just don’t make it a regular occurrence.

Frequent, small, healthy meals works best. Eat more early in the day and less later in the day. Exercise, even if it’s just walking around the block or taking the stairs at work. Eat slowly. Your brain doesn’t know your stomach is full for 20 minutes. Practice leaving just a bite of food on the plate then graduate to leaving more. And above all, love and forgive yourself!

Unleashing Your Creativity

butterfly_with_handsCreativity is something we perceive ourselves to either have or not. There seems to be no middle ground, we’re either right or left brain dominant. This diagnosis is many times allowed to define our abilities. You’re either a creative type or you aren’t, right? Wrong!

Every one of us has creativity lurking. It just gets covered up. The stifling can be caused by criticism, long to-do lists and just not taking the time to explore it, as well as more sinister culprits like childhood abuse. And when we think we aren’t creative, we don’t even try to nurture this part of ourselves. We push it away in favor of more measureable pursuits.

So, the question becomes “How can I be more creative?” . The answer lies in being quiet. This is one of the most overlooked solutions to a myriad of problems….just be quiet. Relax. The answers lie within you.

Be still and listen to that small voice. Observe the world around you. Keep a journal. Write down the thoughts that come into your head. Maybe make a list of more creative things you always wanted to do but never did, either because you felt embarrassed and that you would be ridiculed or just because you didn’t have the time. Here are some examples:

* Dancing
* Singing
* Writing
* Photography
* Cooking
* Playing an instrument
* Teaching
* Decorating/designing
* Public speaking
* Painting/art
* Acting
* Business

These represent my own list. As an accountant, I always felt uncreative. Only in recent years have I realized that the creativity was there all along.

The first glimpse I got was in the business arena. There are many ways to structure a business deal if you just think outside the box a little. Only I didn’t realize at the time how creative it really was.

Now? Well, it’s a totally different story. Most of my life is lived in the creative arena. Just this week I’ve enjoyed six of the other items on that list.

It’s simple, really. Go unleash your creativity!