60 Random Acts of Kindness

What are random acts of kindness?  How do I know if I’m being kind or if I’m being selfish? 

What is Kindness?

How can we be more kind? Kindness is the highest form of wisdom. Kindness also makes us feel better and improves our health.

WHY SHOULD I BE KIND?
Studies show that acts of charity and kindness improve the health of our body, mind and spirit.  When you are kind to yourself and others, your energy level improves, your circulation improves, pain decreases, digestion improves and a general sense of well-being in heightened.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M BEING KIND?
True kindness comes from deep within the heart.  You will know when you are being kind or when someone is being kind to you because you feel a warmth, a stirring within  you  as Soul. You feel appreciated, valued, cared for and loved. You feel grateful.  When you are being kind to someone else, you are not thinking of your own personal agenda, you are acting selflessly for the greater good of another person or of a community.

If a person is able to receive your gift of kindness, often that person lights up with appreciation and gratitude. That person softens and the true light from within shines much brighter.   Be honest with yourself.  Are you being kind or are you trying to control others by helping others? No one likes a “do-gooder” who is trying to help, when no help is wanted. This is not an act of kindness.  This is an act of power.   If you make a mistake (and we all do) and realize that your efforts were  unkind, love yourself and forgive yourself. You can choose to learn valuable lesson and start over.  Learning how to be kind is worth the effort, for yourself and others.

WHAT IF A PERSON DOESN’T ACCEPT MY KINDNESS?
Sometimes people are not able to receive gifts of kindness and love. Check in with yourself and trust your intuition. One of two situations might be occurring:

  1. Maybe you are not doing  what the person wants and needs, but instead you are doing what you think is best for them.
  2. Maybe that person truly is grateful but feels depressed, ashamed and is unable to receive your kindness, compassion and love.  If a person doesn’t accept your kindness, allow that person freedom to live life in their own way, but check in with yourself.  Make sure you are being truly kind.
Comforting Young Adults

Sometimes kindness is just quietly listening.

How do you know whether you are being kind or whether your actions are self-motivated? It is important to be honest with yourself.  A truly kind person knows how to listen and gives from the heart. Sometimes kindness means just quietly listening.  If you trust your intuition and truly act from the heart with love, you will soon discover how to be kind.

WHAT DOES RESEARCH TELL US?
A 2013 study, “A Functional Genomic Perspective on Human Well-being” by researchers Barbara Frederickson, Stephen Cole, and others at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of North Carolina found that people whose happiness was based on helping others, rather than on aquiring materialistic objects, had lower inflammatory markers and improved levels of antibodies, needed for fighting off disease. Researchers analyzed the blood of 80 healthy volunteers.  The volunteers were surveyed to determine what made them happy and gave them a feeling of satisfaction in life. The volunteers whose happiness was more eudaemonic, or based on a sense of higher purpose and service to others had profiles that displayed augmented levels of antibody-producing gene expression and lower levels of the pro-inflammatory expression. They concluded that “the human genome may be more sensitive to qualitative variations in well-being than are our conscious affective experiences.”

A May 2013 study, “Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering” by researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that adults can be trained to be more compassionate. The report is published in the online journal  Psychological Science, and is the first to investigate whether training adults in compassion can result in greater altruistic (kind, selfless, and generous) behavior. After the training in compassion, there was an increase in altruistic “redistribution of funds.”  Researchers Weng, Fox, and others, concluded “These results suggest that compassion can be cultivated with training and that greater altruistic behavior may emerge from increased engagement of neural systems implicated in understanding the suffering of other people, executive and emotional control, and reward processing.”

60 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
You most likely are practicing random acts of kindness every day. Being kind can be as simple as smiling.  Here are a few ideas for random acts of kindness.  If you don’t see an act of kindness that you have tried, please share and add to this list by making a comment below.

  1. If you drive through a toll booth, pay the toll for the next person behind you.
  2. If you live in an area with snow, shovel the sidewalk for your neighbor.

    Shoveling Snow

    Everyone is grateful for help with the snow.

  3. Pick up litter in the community at parks, playgrounds, parking lots, sidewalks, etc., without being asked to do so, or without joining a community service organization.
  4. Offer to help your family members or friends with a project they are working with.
  5. Bring in a neighbor’s trash cans from the street.
  6. Write a poem for a loved one and read it to them.
  7. When you go to a public library and see books placed on the self crooked or shoved back too far, straighten the books on the bookshelf to be helpful to the next person (let the librarian be in charge of shelving, but you can do your part to straighten).

    Young Woman Book

    Straightening library shelves can be a great way to show kindness and give community support.

  8. If you see someone who looks lost, take time to give directions.
  9. If you see someone struggling with carrying packages to their car, offer to help carry the bags for them.
  10. Leave a book or magazine at a laundromat or waiting room for the next person to read.
  11. If you see a parking meter that has expired, put coins in the meter for the person.
  12. Write motivational messages or inspirational notes on “sticky notes” or “PostIts”  for your family members, such as “You make me smile,”  or “I’m grateful for you in my life,”  or “Thank you for being so kind,”  and leave them in little places around the house where they will be sure to see them.

    You Are Beautiful

    Leave positive or uplifting messages on sticky notes for family members or friends.

  13. Buy extra dog food or dog treats and donate it to a local animal shelter.
  14. Write a letter or mail a package to a person in the armed forces.  Find out more by visiting www.military.com
  15. Write letters of encouragement on friendship note cards  and deliver them to a senior center, such as “You are beautiful and shine with love,”  “Have a wonderful day,”  “Sending you warm showers of love today.”
  16. When you leave a public bathroom that is not well-kept, take a paper towel and wipe off  the counter for the next person.
  17. Buy a box of  holiday cards and sign  them with holiday love and best wishes.  Deliver them to a homeless shelter, hospital, or nursing home.
  18. If you have a secretary or assistant who helps you, bring that person a special gift, food treat, or favorite beverage first thing in the morning.
  19. Stick a thank you note outside the door for the newspaper carrier.
  20. Bake cookies or create healthy food baskets (such as raw fruits) to give as “gratitude gifts” and drop them off to public servants such as firefighters or police men or women.
  21. When you are mowing your yard, and you know that your neighbor wants their yard mowed, mow your neighbor’s yard as well.
  22. Send thank you cards to people who help you every day, such as the hairdresser, the dentist, the apartment manager etc.,  thanking them for their service.
  23. Stop by a florist shop and buy flowers or pick flowers from your flower garden.  Then listen inwardly for guidance and give the flowers to the first person you see who is in need of receiving love.

    Girl gives flowers

    Giving flowers is a loving gesture that says, “You are special. I care about you.”

  24. If you go to church, put a note in the collection plate along with your offering, thanking the minister and staff for the love they put into the service.
  25. Begin to collect coins or bills in a jar each day, and then donate the collection to charity.
  26. If you happen to walk or drive by a home that is well-kept, with a beautiful garden or yard, write a little note and put it in their mail box telling them how much you appreciate the love they put into their home.
  27. Buy a bird feeder, or put a plate or pan outside in the yard to provide birdseed for the birds and squirrels.

    Person Feeding Bird

    All creatures on earth respond to kindness.

  28. Write a letter or note to a very old friend, classmate, or someone you haven’t seen for many years, and tell them why you appreciate them and what a difference they have made in your life.
  29. If you are shopping at a grocery store and a person is checking out in front of you, doesn’t have enough change handy at the register, offer your coins to them.
  30. If someone owes you money, let it go, forgive them and never think of it again.
  31.  Say, “I’m sorry” to someone when you’ve made a mistake.
  32. When you are leaving a restaurant, pay for someone else’s meal without them knowing about it.
  33. If you see someone on the street asking for money, give a donation to them.
  34. When you use a vending machine, leave your change for the next person.
  35. If you are in a crowded bus, offer someone your seat.

    Offers a Seat on Bus

    Kindness is thinking of others with loving care, and demonstrating that with thought, word and deed.

  36. Offer to babysit for your friend’s children so that the parents can have a special “date night” out.
  37. Take time out to really listen to a loved one or friend.
  38. If there is a donation box at the checkout in a store, add some money to the collection.
  39. If you see a shopping cart out in the parking lot, return the shopping cart back to the store or to its storage area.
  40. If you notice that a neighbor is moving, walk over to their house and offer to help pack or lift boxes.
  41. If someone is explaining themselves and talking for a long time and your mind begins drifting to other thoughts about your own life, stop yourself from drifting and just listen and let them talk.
  42. Check your phone book for local animal shelters and volunteer at the animal shelter (walk  dogs, pet kittens,  help with cleaning cages, or feed animals).
  43. If you enter or leave a building and notice someone behind you, hold the door open so they can walk ahead of you.

    Holding the Door Open

    Holding the door open for someone is a simple, compassionate gesture.

  44. If you see a homeless person on the street and you’ve just left the grocery store, give them a bag of groceries, and go back for more.
  45. Say hello, good morning or good afternoon when you see people on the street.
  46. Offer to let someone step ahead of you when you are waiting in line.
  47. If you have elderly neighbors with dogs, offer to walk their dogs.
  48. Begin the habit of buying two or three extra cans or packages of food when you go shopping.  Check your local area for food banks or the Salvation Army and donate to food banks regularly.
  49. Call the local schools and volunteer to be a tutor or mentor.
  50. Write a thank you note to your teacher or coach and tell them how much they helped you.
  51. When you are driving your car and another car is trying to merge into traffic, let them merge into your lane.
  52. If you take the city bus, be extra kind to a bus driver. Say hello, tell them how much you appreciate what they do.
  53. Call friends or family members whom you do not see often and tell them what you appreciate about them. Ask them to share how they are doing.  Listen and be a good friend.

    Happy Phone Call

    Your uplifting, kind words on a phone call to a family member or friend might be the highlight of that person’s day, and something they might treasure for a lifetime.

  54. Donate toys to children in need.
  55. If you are living with another family member, do chores or errands for them that they ordinarily do for themselves or others (such as the laundry, dusting, cooking, etc.).
  56. If a friend or family member looks tired, offer to fix them a cup of tea or give them a foot massage or something to eat.
  57. Be friendly to new neighbors and bring them a food basket.
  58. Sort through all of your clothes and donate clothes you don’t use anymore to a used clothing store or homeless shelter.
  59. Offer to “pet sit” for friends who are going vacationing.
  60. Smile at everyone you see and everyone you don’t see (even when you are talking on the phone).  Remember that kindness starts in the heart and is felt from one person to another across the miles.

RESOURCES
NY Times – “Looking to Genes for the Secret to Happiness”
PNAS – “A functional genomic perspective on human well-being
NY Times – “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?”
University of Wisconsin Madison – “Brain Can Be Trained in Compassion, Study Shows
Psychological Science – “Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering”
Random Acts of Kindness (www.randomactsofkindness.org)

_______________________________


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

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20 Best New Year’s Resolutions

What are the best New Year’s Resolutions?

20 Best New Year's Resolutions

20 Best New Year’s Resolutions. Click, copy, download, save and share.

It’s not such an easy task to choose  the best resolutions.  Everyone is unique in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals.  However, these top health goals are twenty of the most common health goals.   We believe that you will find some helpful goals listed below. Setting goals is easy but keeping goals is a little more difficult.  The trick is to make goals simple, specific, achievable, and choose goals that you are strongly motivated to accomplish.   Check out our article on this website for more information about how to keep your New Year’s resolutions and goals.  You can do it with motivation,  persistence and a plan.

20 BEST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS 

  1.  Eat healthy foods  – If  you have made a resolution to eat healthier foods, you are not alone.  What can you do to successfully achieve your “healthy eating” goal in 2013?  First, make the goal specific to your needs.  You might wish to throw out all packaged foods or ” junk foods” especially those with hydrogenated oils and high in trans fats such as packaged cookies, corn chips, crackers, candy bars, etc.  Instead stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat nuts and healthy fats such as avocados.   Set goals that are specific and measurable, such as “eat vegetables four times a day.”   
  2. Get a physical exam – Many health problems can be prevented if people visit their health practitioners regularly.  Making a yearly appointment with a dentist, optomotrist, and general practitioner is important and a great way to love ourselves this new year.  Ask your trusted health professional which tests and exams are important for you to take at your stage in life, then set a goal that fits your needs, such as “Have my teeth cleaned,”   or “get a breast exam.”
  3. Set up a fitness routine. –  Most of us have trouble keeping up with our physical exercises and setting a regular schedule.  For some, it’s best to do exercises first thing in the morning before showering and heading out for the day.  For others it’s best to exercise before going to sleep and others might prefer to exercise throughout the day for shorter periods of time.  It might be that your resolution is to practice better posture.  Sitting up straight and standing with shoulders back, is good start.  Chat with your health professional.  Recognize your areas of weakness and consult with a trusted professional about fitness routines and exercises that are best for you.
  4. Attend educational events.  – Sometimes we are so busy with family, work, friends and physical activities that we forget about engaging the mind. The year quickly fades away and then we realize that we did very little except work, eat, and watch TV.   You might be one of many people who are deciding to  make a conscious effort to schedule time attending educational events this new year (lectures, workshops, discussion groups, art galleries, ballet, concerts, seminars, conferences, classes, etc.).  Engaging and stimulating the mind brings renewed energy and health.  Check your local paper for events listings and check our MBHA Meetup site for lists of hundreds of health and wellness activities and events.
  5. Schedule time for hobbies. –  It’s not uncommon for people to reflect on the year’s accomplishments and realize that they spent very little time engaging in activities they truly love – hobbies such as tennis, swimming, knitting, playing the piano, dancing, painting, hiking, etc.  If you have a hobby that makes your heart happy, you might wish to write this goal as a New Year’s resolution.  Make it a point to write down “hobby time” every week.
  6. Save money and pay off debts. – Being in debt is no longer something to be ashamed of in these economic times.  Setting a goal to pay off debts is a great New Year’s resolution.  There are many tips that are helpful in removing debt from our lives. Check out our article on this blog about how to stop debt and bring abundance by making lifestyle changes.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight. – Dieting and losing weight is a very popular New Year’s resolution and certainly in the top 10, but how do we succeed at meeting this goal?  A healthy weight for some people might not be healthy for others. Some more intensive physical exercise routines might not be appropriate for everyone, and might actually result in injury.    Some people have dietary restrictions, food allergies, and physical limitations such as arthritis or other problems.  It’s important that goals are specific to each person’s lifestyle.  You might want to set an appointment with a nutritionist or a fitness trainer or coach.  It’s a great idea to take a good look at your eating and exercising habits and consult with professionals who can help you design a plan to maintain a healthy weight.
  8. Volunteer with charities. – Volunteering in the community is a great goal. Get a list of local nonprofit organizations near you and decide which organizations speak to your heart.  Do you have a particular skill that can be beneficial to others?  Perhaps you are a good reader and would enjoy reading to the blind?  Maybe you are the quiet type who enjoys working on the computer alone and can volunteer helping input data for a local charitable organization.  Maybe you like physical work and would be happy unloading donating clothing or bags of food from a truck.  Choose a goal the works for you and be specific about how many hours each week you will volunteer.  Write it on your calendar and stick with it.  How does charity make us healthy?  Studies show that people who volunteer in the community are healthier and happier.
  9. Get more sleep. – Lack of sleep is a primary cause of health problems and if continued for long periods of time can lead to more serious health conditions.  Many of us don’t get enough sleep or have restless or interrupted sleep due to our living environment or other interfering health problems such as stress, migraines, allergies, muscle aches and pains, digestive problems, etc., and a  more serious health problems such as night seizures and sleep apnea.  Any or all of these situations can interfere with our ability to get a good night’s sleep.  If you think that you are not getting enough sleep, discuss your situation with your trusted health professional and set some goals to accomplish this.  He or she might schedule some tests to determine how you can be helped.
  10. Organize your life.  – Do you still have a pile of unopened mail from last year? Do you file your important papers in a sack in the closet or in your sock drawer? Do you have photos stuck between pages of books?  Does your refrigerator look like the inside of a toilet?  Maybe you need “organization” as a New Year’s resolution.  Most of us have some areas of our lives that are less organized than others. For example, you might want to get organized with the email addresses, street addresses, websites, and phone numbers of your friends and family members (either online or in a address book) or you might just want to throw out all the garbage in your closet.   Decide what is important to you and what you are motivated to change and set a specific goal, such as “Finish painting the kitchen by March 15th.”
  11. Spend more time with loved ones or family members. – Do you wish that you would have spent more time with your family members or loved ones, this past year?  Most people do.  If you want to set this as a goal, it’s important to look at what you are doing that is interfering with making this happen. Make a list of how you spend your day and what happens in an average week.  Start planning ahead and schedule specific dates and times for family and/or loved ones.  If you continue to break appointments with those you love, you might want to discuss the situation with a therapist or counselor, health practitioner, or trusted friend to help you work through relationship issues.  A professional can help you to set goals.
  12. Reduce TV time. – Studies show that most of us are watching too much television (or watching programs on the computer).  Electromagnetic radiation can be damaging to our health, and long hours spent watching televised programs keep us away from physical exercise of the arms, legs, neck and eyes.   Those who watch  television  for long periods of time or spend long hours on the computer often spend very little time communicating verbally and stimulating that area of the brain.  Staring at the light from the television or computer screen can be fatiguing and straining for the eyes.   Reducing TV time can be helpful to bring about a healthier body, mind and spirit.
  13. Spend more time in nature. – Research studies show that fresh air, sunshine and time in nature are important to a healthy body, mind, and spirit.  If you feel you spend too much time indoors, it might be a good New Year’s resolution for you to schedule time participating in outdoor activities alone or with others such as: planting a garden, walking in woods, visiting a park, or simply sitting outside in a lawn chair resting and listening to the birds.
  14. Read a book. – Whether you are curling up to the fire with Kindle or an old-fashioned hard-cover novel, it matters little.  Reading is an important way to meet your health and wellness goals for this new year.  Browse through book titles and choose subjects that are interesting to you so that you are motivated to keep this goal. A healthy mind, creates a healthy body and spirit.
  15. Quit smoking.  – You are not alone if you are still smoking and want to quit. There is no question that smoking contributes to poor health.  Why do you want to quit? Is it because others are aggravating you with their criticism, or is it because you want to be healthier and happier?   Knowing why you want to quit is an important step toward success.   Other reasons for stopping smoking are to improve the health of those who live with you,  and to save money.  You don’t have to quit smoking alone.  There is help available.  For tips on how to stop smoking, contact the American Lung Association.  Work with a partner and set specific achievable goals to kick the smoking habit.
  16. Quit drinking. – Quitting drinking or cutting back on drinking is a popular New Year’s resolution.  Why do you want to quit drinking? Do you have blackouts? Is your drinking interfering with your work or family life, or is it interfering with you accomplishing your goals in life?  If so, you might have a drinking problem.  You can find help with a goal of quitting drinking at Alcoholics Anonymous.   Find out where the closest AA group is near you. Whether your goal is quitting drinking completely, or cutting back, it’s great to set definitely goals, and schedule alternate, healthy activities to replace time spent drinking alone or with friends.
  17. Walk more and drive less. –  One of the best and easiest ways to become more healthy and fit is to walk as much as possible.  Walking is great for improving circulation, oxygenating the body, and stimulating the senses. Walking is enjoyable and refreshing.  Is walking the best resolution for you? Do you live within walking distance of a grocery store, post office, or restaurant? Try walking to various locations instead of driving.  Although walking is a relatively safe exercise, always check with your doctor or trusted practitioner, before beginning a new exercise routine.
  18. Learn a new skill.  – Is there something that you’ve always wanted to learn how to do, but have been putting it off for months, or years?  Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to go parachuting,  rollerblading,  to learn how to speak French.  Learning a new skill is not only fun, it’s very healthy and stimulating.  Choose a skill that is achievable and that you are highly motivated to learn.
  19. Conquer a fear. –  Have you been struggling with fears that keep you from moving forward on the job, with your life goals, or in your personal relationships? Do you have a fear of a situation, like fear of spiders, elevators, swimming, or crowded rooms?   Conquering a fear might be a good resolution for you.  Take some time to be alone and listen to your inner feelings.  Make a list of situations that trigger feelings of anxiety, regret, guilt, shame and fear.  Once you have identified the situation and the fear, begin to bring feelings of confidence, hope, peace, contentment, forgiveness, calmness, detachment, and love into your heart.  Use your imagination to experience confidence and inner peace. Write down on paper what you want to achieve and imagine it without fear.  Read motivational quotes, believe in yourself and achieve your goal.  You might wish to seek professional help or join a support group to help you with your fears. You don’t have to tackle it alone.
  20. Travel or plan a vacation. – Planning a vacation or trip is a popular New Year’s resolution.  Traveling away from the daily work routine is a great way to relieve stress and energize ourselves.  Do you have a place that you’ve always wanted to visit?  Do you have fun friends that live far away that you would enjoy visiting? Is there a particular place that brings you joy or contentment?  If you can’t get away for a week or a few days, schedule one day every week  or every month, to get away to a nearby beach, forest, health spa, or other natural setting. Any shift in scenery is a great way to recharge.

Remember, you can do it, if you plan it, see it, and be it. Best wishes to you from your health and wellness friends here at MBHA.

_____________________________

Jean E. DartJean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

20 Ways to Love Yourself

YOU are lovable and valuable.  How do you love yourself? How do we give yourself love without being selfish?

Love Yourself

Love yourself. You are lovable and valuable.

WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? Self-love is not the same as selfishness. Self-love is not vain. Self-love is important for our preservation and existence.  If we do not love and care for ourselves, then we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.

We cannot expect others to care for us when we can care for ourselves. If we do this, we can be guaranteed to be disappointed, because another Soul cannot love us the way that we can love ourselves.  Of course, sometimes we need help from others, but we must do what we can to love and care for ourselves, even if it is just inwardly being responsible for not allowing negative thinking to dominate our lives.

Studies show that those who have not learned how to love themselves, are more prone to disease, and even death.  Self-love is how we keep the mind, body, and spirit, free from disease and charged up with positive healing energies.


20 WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF

    1. Make a list of all of your talents and positive qualities and post it up on the wall or refrigerator where you can see it, or for those more modest, put it on the inside of closet door, or a place where only you will see it everyday.  If you are having trouble making a list, ask a trusted friend to help you.  Try to use a variety of words, not just “nice.”  Do a word search for “positive characteristics.”  Try some other words like, “determined,”  “easy-going,” “imaginative,” “trusting,” etc.

      Man Looking in the Mirror

      Do you love yourself? Can you look in the mirror and feel good about who you see?

    2. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment (for example, “You are a good listener,”  or “You’re reliable and dependable,”  “You have very good complexion,”  or “You are very talented at drawing.”   Truly mean it and be grateful for the positive traits you have.
    3. Make a list of things that you love to do (for example, listening to French music, watching old movies, playing cards, going for a walk in the park, sitting with the dogs, etc.) and plan time on your calendar or daily planner to schedule at least one or two hours every day, doing something that uplifting or fun that brings joy to your heart.

      Woman shrugging shoulders

      Learn to take your time to make decisions. It’s O.K. not to know what to do and to take time until you are certain.

    4. Learn to say, “I’ll get back to you,”  or “let me give that some thought.”  Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Learn to trust your own judgment and inner direction, by giving yourself some time alone to make your own decisions.  This might mean going against a decision made by a group of friends.  Know that this is an important step in loving yourself. Take time to make decisions and know that it is perfectly fine to not know what to do.
    5. Make a list of your favorite foods that are healthy for every part of you – body, mind and spirit, (not just a long list of junk food that might be good for the emotions but bad for the stomach and heart). Put some thought into this “healthy food” list.  Make some effort to throw out foods that are not nourishing to you and replace them with healthy and fun foods that you enjoy such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, organic foods and juices, etc. 
    6. Hug yourself.  Give it a try. Nobody is looking and it feels really good.  Hug yourself every day.
    7. Shift gears and lead a balanced life.  Make sure that you are getting enough exercise and enough rest so that you lead a balanced life.  If you stay inside and work on a computer all day, get out of the house and get some exercise. If you do physical work all day, stay inside, relax, put your feet up and snuggle with a loved one or the cat in front of a cozy fire. Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising, and relaxing.
    8. Imagine that someone is telling you something negative about yourself and you are strong and unaffected. Practice being detached and saying. “O.K. fine,” and not caring about what others think.  Practice seeing yourself in a good light, even when others see you in a negative way.  Keep practicing until you honestly are not bothered by these kind of statements. You can do it!
    9. Make a list of people whom you admire or who inspire you.  Now that you have a few names, think of the character traits that they have that you like.  Write the character or personality traits next to the person’s name such as confident, relaxed, wise, affectionate, humorous, honest, trustworthy, fun, talented, etc.   Then take this list and compare it with a list of your traits.  Which traits do you have?  Which traits do you need to work on? Next spend time each day in quiet contemplation imagining that you are this trait.  If it is “friendly,” then close your eyes and go on a little journey, imagining a little “drama” or “play” in which you are a very friendly person.  Do this every day.

      Writing Goals

      One way to love yourself is to take time to listen, and write down your goals and dreams.

    10. Use a journal every day before going to sleep. Write down in the journal what you choose to accomplish or how you wish to be.  This is your true self.  For example, write:  “I am kind.  I am patient.  I am loved. I bring joy and happiness to others.”   Write these statements several times in the morning, throughout the day, and before falling asleep.
    11. Spend some time alone with yourself every day. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer and just listen. Get a pen and paper and write down your hopes and dreams.  What is it that you’ve always wanted to do?  Close your eyes and imagine it so.  Now start breaking it down into goals.  Write down five, ten or more steps to achieving your goal.  What is standing in your way? Start taking action by writing each goal step on your calendar.  Forgive yourself if you have to reschedule, but be persistent and don’t give up.
    12. Learn how be yourself.  Who are you? What do you like?  Find out what your favorite music is, your favorite clothes, your favorite foods, etc.  Spend time alone and sort this out so that when you are with others you are not just copying what they do.  Then when you are certain who you are and what makes you uniquely YOU, be true to yourself.  Find friends, or groups of people (classes, clubs, organizations) who enjoy being with you just the way you are, and who enjoy the same things you do. Join groups. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold the same values.
    13. Pretend that you are your best friend.  When you are planning what to do for the day and you start to contact your best friend, stop yourself and ask, “Is there anything that I am choosing to give my best friend, that I’m not giving to myself?”  Do you treat your best friend with kindness, trust, respect, flattery,  time, patience, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance?  It’s great to give to your friends and make time for them, but be sure to balance it out with time, forgiveness, love, and gifts for yourself.
    14. Don’t compare. If you find that you are comparing yourself to another person or a group of people, stop yourself and say, “I don’t make  comparisons.”  Remember that each person is unique.  Each person is lovable and valuable. The trick is to find your uniqueness, your sparkle, and not to focus on differences. This holds true for others also.  Hold onto the image of each person’s value and uniqueness in life. Stop looking at how people (yourself included) don’t measure up to certain standards or expectations. Throw out expectations.  When you compare, you hurt others and yourself. and separate yourself from the world. Remember that love doesn’t put itself on a scale to be measured out by comparisons.

      Physical Exam

      Scheduling yearly physical exams is one important way to show our love for ourselves.

    15. See a doctor or trusted practitioner regularly.  Schedule basic health exams, blood work, and other tests and screenings to make sure you are in tip top shape.
    16.  Treat yourself.  Get a massage, sauna, facial, pedicure, manicure, new haircut, paint your room, buy new curtains, buy new clothes, etc.  Do something loving for your body and/or your home. Treat yourself and have fun.
    17. Explore aromatherapy.  So maybe you cleaned up the house, bought nice clothes, went to the doctor and you are feeling fine…did you think about fragrances?  What does your place smell like and what do you smell like?  Find out which fragrances make you happy and relaxed.  Buy shaving lotions, aftershave, men’s cologne, women’s perfume, deodorant, incense, fresh flowers, air fresheners, or essential oils to bring amazing fragrances into your life that bring out the best in you.
    18. Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes.  Close your eyes, listen to your heart and discover any past regrets, disappointments, shame, fear, guilt, anger, that is still gripping your heart and preventing you from moving forward.  Imagine surrendering this over to a higher power and letting go.  Practice tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, faith and trust in higher wisdom and a higher plan.  Know that more will be revealed to you.  You or those you love, may not have all the skills needed at the moment, but accept that you and others are learning and evolving spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Write and say out loud, “I forgive myself. I forgive others.” Let it go.
    19. Thank your negativity. Every time you hear yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself or others, such as “I am ugly,” talk to your emotions or your mind and say, “Thank you for providing me with this information.”  Be grateful for the negative thought.  Then let it go, saying to yourself. “I’m grateful and I’ve heard you, and I don’t need to think of this anymore. Thank you.” Send it away and replace it with a positive thought, such as “I am radiant.”
    20. Give to others.  Do something good, kind, loving and/or charitable each day for someone else without them knowing that you have done something, or without any expectation of recognition or reward.

_______________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

What is a Hero?

What is a hero?

What is a hero? How do we become a hero? You are the hero of your own story.

What is a hero? How can we be a hero?  Who are our heroes?  Whether a person is determined a hero or not,  does not necessarily depend on the degree to which they have inspired a person or a large number of people in some way.  Some heroes are invisible.  You are a hero of your own story.

WHO ARE SOME OF OUR HEROES?

  • Mother Teresa
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Hank Aaron
  • Gandhi
  • Joan of Arc
  • Amelia Earheart
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Jonas Salk
  • The Wright Brothers
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ansel Adams
  • Winston Churchill
  • Rosa Parks
  • Billy Graham
  • Dr. Martin Luther King
  • Christopher Columbus
  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Marlee Matlin
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Anne Frank
  • Jane Goodall and many, many more.

Real Heros CoverBut do heroes have to be well known?  Certainly not.  Heroes are happening all around us every day.

Then what is a hero?   Before his death in 2004, and long after his death, Christopher Reeve, an American actor, film director and activist (1952-2004),  like other heros, has been an inspirational living example to others, because of his acceptance and endurance through difficult challenges.  According to Christopher Reeve,

Woman Hero Award“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

So heroes have their challenges and human qualities just like everyone else. These negative qualities seem to be an important part of being a hero.  Do heroes have to suffer and die?  Do heroes have to change the world?  No, some heroes live and die with very few people knowing who they are.

But every person is a hero who has faced, endured and conquered the negative qualities within. Heroes are fighters.  They battle with a variety of different issues, people, and situations.  Some negative situations are found deep within the heart, such as coming to terms with our uniqueness despite social or cultural opinions.

Hero Rescue Cat

Other situations are found outside of us, and we become strong and endure hardship such as disease or poverty.

If you have experienced some of these negative qualities, issues, or situations below, then you can find comfort in knowing that you are half-way there to becoming a hero.

WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT NEGATIVE QUALITIES OF A HERO?
Heroes have negative qualities within themselves or negative situations surrounding them that surface and allow them to refine and grow into true heroes.

  • a gripping overwhelming fear or terror
  • general weakness, feebleness or vulnerability
  • overwhelming loneliness, melancholia, moodiness, depression
  • temptation, yearning, desire, greed, or uncontrollable want
  • physical suffering or illness that effects the ability to be happy, healthy and productive
  • frustration, bitterness, blame, and resentment that dominates the mind, body and spirit
  • hopelessness, lack of faith, and despair that cripples and removes all joy in life
  • anger or rage that interferes with the ability to be loving, forgiving, and free
  • feelings of rejection, abandonment, and victimization as a result of experiencing unjust actions or treatment
  • ignorance or confusion and the inability to logically understand situations or to be able to meet expectations
  • ridicule, scorn, and humiliation by strangers, friends or family members
  • self hatred, guilt, and shame
  • repeated failures, defeat, or losses

Oklahoma City BombingThe hero can be the school teacher who stays up late at night grading papers and making teaching materials, and decorations  for the classroom and who empties her savings account of the money she had saved to buy a new car, and purchases computers for the children.  A hero can be a man who has been bedridden for five years but continues to write letters from his bed to poor, homeless children around the world, telling them to always remember that they are special, unique and a gift and blessing to the world.

A hero can be a dog who returns into a flaming building to retrieve its puppies and carry them to safety.  A hero is the young man who drives his buddy home from the bar on Saturday night after he notices that his friend has had a little too much to drink.   Each of these characters would not a be a hero if they didn’t have doubts, fears, and reservations.

Relief Society Kenya

WHAT ARE THE REDEEMING QUALITIES OF HEROES?
Heroes also have redeeming qualities that carry them through difficult, seemingly impossible times.  It is the combination of the negative and positive qualities that creates the brilliance we see shining from the hero.  This is the hero’s true spiritual essence.  Is a hero always known to others? Maybe not.  As we’ve already mentioned, many heroes are invisible to others, but their essence an be felt around the world and affects the general health and wellness of the universe.

  • compassion, selflessness, charity, and genuine caring for others
  • acceptance, forgiveness, and tolerance of others
  • contentment, peace, and satisfaction with self and the situation
  • patience, composure, endurance, and the ability to wait for the right time and place
  • faith, hope, conviction, loyalty, and trust in one’s self
  • perseverance,  persistence, discipline, resilience, and the ability to never give up and continue to take action despite all circumstances
  • women hero flyerscourage, fearlessness, bravery, backbone, and the strength and ability to face all fears and negativity
  • vision, imagination, realization, inventiveness, creativity, and the ability to look outside of the box for solutions
  • gratitude, humility, grace, and the ability to humbly accept weaknesses of self and others
  • spirituality, religion, and the ability to surrender to a higher power or higher wisdom
  • truth, wisdom, awareness, and true enlightenment beyond what is obvious to the human eyes and ears
  • skill, talent, aptitude, and capability to accomplish a task and succeed as a result of disciplined effort
  • the ability to experience happiness, joy, laughter, positivity, amazement, and sincere delight in the gift and blessing of life despite its challenges

Man Holding Door OpenHOW CAN WE BE HEROES?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.”

Each of us have opportunities to be a hero every day, when we accept the invitation from the universe to offer kindness and help. We can be a hero when someone says an unkind word to another person, by offering words of kindness and hope.  We can be a hero by walking our dogs in the rain at night when we would rather stay inside where it’s warm, cuddled up in a blanket, next to the fire.   We can be a hero by picking up some litter off of the sidewalk and walking across the street to a trashcan to throw it away.

“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around”
~Edgar Watson Howe

Thank you for being a hero. Together we make a difference in the world, by being a hero in our everyday lives.

______________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

20 Tips on How to Find Love

How do we find love? Millions of people around the world are seeking love. If you do a search online right now for answers, you will quickly discover hundreds, if not thousands, of online dating services. Yet, is this really the answer to what we are seeking?  The answer is hidden deep within our hearts. YOU are love. It is you.

You are love

You are love. It is you.

HOW DO WE FIND LOVE?
Many of us spend lifetimes searching for love outside of ourselves when true wisdom shows us that love can only be found within us.

But sometimes it is difficult to believe that love can be easily found within.  We feel bitter, resentful, frightened, worried, depressed, angry, lost, empty, hopeless, and lonely.  Where did the love go?  The truth is that love didn’t go anywhere.  It didn’t leave us.  It is there, but we must find it.  How do find something that is not missing?  We must open our spiritual eyes and ears and look and listen beyond what we see. We must learn to take action to love ourselves before we can love others.  The truth is that love is always with us.  Love can be found anywhere.

20 TIPS ON HOW TO FIND LOVE

  1. Find love by doing things you love – Do something that you remember enjoying and loving as a child (cooking, swimming, drawing, basketball, listening to music, petting a dog, walking in a forest, etc.).  If you can’t remember, ask someone who can (your mother or father, sisters or brothers, close friends).  Take time to do things you love every day.

    young man basketball

    Engaging in activities we enjoy helps us find love.

  2. Find love by giving to your friends or loved ones – Write down the names of several friends who you love. Write down why you love them and what their redeeming qualities are.  Next call these friends or get together with them and tell them how much they mean to you and what you love about them. Don’t expect them to say the same about you.  Practice giving love without receiving it.  You might have the opportunity to receive love from your friends, but practice not expecting it, and loving just for the sake of loving.
  3. Find love in the world around you. Make an alphabet list (three for each letter of the alphabet) that puts a smile on your face (eg., aprons, apples, astrology).  Keep this list handy.  Look at the list often and think of the things that you love. Open your heart to receiving from the world around you.
  4. Find love through volunteering.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter, goodwill store or soup kitchen.  Helping others brings love into the heart.  When you return home, make a gratitude list.  Think of the things that you have in your life that these people do not have. Write a thank you note expressing  your gratitude for these gifts in your life.
  5. writing in journal

    Writing in a journal can help us find love.

    Find love by listening to yourself. Write down your thoughts during the day. If you have negative thoughts, write them down and then burn them, cut or tear them into little pieces, or flush them down the toilet.  As you destroy the negative thoughts, replace the thoughts with gratitude for the good things in your life.  If you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, make a list. Start with the basics:  I’m alive. I’m breathing. I have hope. I have this article right now. I have a place to sleep. I have food., etc.

  6. Find love by listening to others. Listen to a “talk radio” program where people call in with their problems, or listen to a friend who is sharing with you about his or her problems with giving and receiving love.  Listening to how others solve their problems, brings healing in ourselves. Take notes. Write in your journal about it. Then contemplate on the ways in which others have learned about how to give and receive love, and think of how this relates to your own life.
  7. Find love by joining a support group or weekend workshop or seminar to help you unleash your fears, heal your heart and take the next step. If you don’t feel like talking at first, that’s O.K., join a weekly one-hour group rather than a big commitment like a seminar.  Just go for an hour and tell others you want to listen. Use good discrimination.  If the group is just a lot of people complaining and gossiping, this does not add to your health and well-being.  Seek out positive, loving groups that focus on forgiveness, love and hope.  After attending, always take time to reflect and summarize what you have learned for yourself.

    college student classroom

    Find love by taking a class in a subject you enjoy.

  8. Find love by taking a class and developing your skills.  Do this just for fun and just for you.  Learn a new skill (eg., sewing, car repair, home decorating, French lessons, computer programming etc.).  Investing in ourselves builds self esteem, happiness and brings self love.
  9. Find love by participating in an online chat group. Love can be found anywhere because it is inside of you. To find love in an online chat group, you can be anonymous, or not. Don’t join the group expecting to find a whirlwind romance.  Don’t join the group if people are complaining, gossiping about others, trashing their lives, complaining about the world, and bringing you down.  This is not love.  Find a group that makes you laugh and brings joy into your heart. Participate. Give support to others. Learn to read carefully what others say. Respond with supportive statements. Be a good friend.  Be a friend who is lighthearted, joyful and confident in yourself.  Learn how to experience love by giving love.
  10. Find love by reminding yourself of your good traits. Write down 20 positive and lovable traits about yourself and tape it to the refrigerator (eg., stylish, spontaneous, daring, open-minded, good at poker, etc.) .  Read it often.

    Couple reading in bed

    Reading uplifting books opens us to love.

  11. Find love by reading uplifting positive books every night before going to sleep. Throw out or give away books that are dramatic, depressing, and maintain a victim consciousness.  Be selective. Negative books might give you a thrill or sensation of dominance or power, but these feelings don’t last and you are left with a feeling of emptiness and lack of love.  Now is the time to make good choices about what is loving and what is not loving. Remember that you are responsible for creating your world.
  12. Find love through loving, joyful music. Throw out all music that is angry or depressing. Choose to saturate yourself with music that is happy, loving, inspirational, joyous, and peaceful.
  13. Find love by giving yourself permission to be unloving: sad, frustrated, angry, or depressed, etc.   Take some quiet time to get in touch with those feelings.  Love the bad feelings, and forgive yourself. If you harbor bad feels toward another person, ask yourself, “What was the lesson in this relationship?  How did I benefit from this? What did I learn?”  When you identify the lesson and blessing, then let it go, be grateful, and forgive.
  14. Find love by putting love into your outer shell – clothing, and home.  Get a “makeover” (a new haircut, new clothes, clean and redecorate your house, etc.). Have fun, think loving, nurturing thoughts while making improvements, and invest in yourself.
  15. Find love by giving love to your physical body. Exercise, do deep breathing, or go for a walk. Get a massage.
  16. Find love by eating good food. Poor diet can bring on depression and make it difficult, if not impossible, to feel happy and loved.  Make a list of healthy foods, buy them, and tape the list to your refrigerator.
  17. Find love by getting plenty of sleep. Nothing blocks a happy heart more than lack of sleep and rest.  Allow yourself time to rest, relax and recharge.woman praying
  18. Find love through meditation or prayer. If you’ve identified a problem that you cannot solve, surrender it over to a higher power. Speak with spiritual people whom you trust (priest, minister, friend, family member).  Spiritual exercises, prayer, contemplation, guided imagery or meditation can be instrumental in opening the heart to experiencing divine  or higher love and wisdom.  Imagine love filling your body with a beautiful golden, shimmering light. Feel love in your heart and keep this feeling throughout the day. If it goes away, take time out to repeat the exercise.
  19. Find love through listening to “self-help” motivational recordings. There are many audio and video recordings available free or for purchase that help awaken others to a more loving consciousness. Visit our YouTube site for our playlist.
  20. Find love by reminding yourself, “You are Love. It is You.”   Download, or copy and print out this free poster here, and put it up somewhere where you see it every day. Write “I am love.” 15 times before going to sleep at night.

Remember that the truth is that you don’t have to go looking for love. These tips help you discover the truth. Love is right here with you always. All ways. You are love. It is you.  Best wishes and lots of love to you from your health and wellness friends here at MBHA.

_______________________________

This article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is Jean E. Darta published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

How Does Charity Make Us Healthy?

WHAT IS CHARITY?

Volunteering Improves Health

Can charity improve health? Do we benefit when we volunteer and give to others?  Copy, download, save and share.

Can giving to others make us healthy? Research studies show that giving has a powerful effect on our health……BUT ONLY if it is truly charitable giving. How do we make sure that it is TRUE CHARITY?  Charity is the voluntary act of giving time, help, money, products or services to others who are in need, and who are not related to the giver.Most forms of charity consist of offering food, shelter, or volunteering our time in service, assisting those who are experiencing misfortune. Charity is also the general daily acts of human kindness, compassion, consideration, and love.


WHY CHARITY FEELS GOOD

What is at the root of charity, and why does it feel good to both the giver and the receiver?  Historical documents show us that deep at the root of charity is divine love.  The Greek word “agape” ἀγάπη means charity and selfless, divine love, as opposed to sexual or human love.  This is the highest state of consciouness possible in it’s human form.  The word “agape” was translated to “love” in this popular bible quotation.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and do not have love (agape), it profits me nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:2

So clearly there is much more to charity (“agape”)  than just “helping” others.  Think about charity for a moment.  What value would charity be if we were giving money or service, to the Red Cross, for example, out of a feeling of frustration, duty or regret?  Charity is about helping, yes, but also about an attitude of selflessness, compassion, and love.  Let’s look at some other popular  quotes about charity.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank, Diary of Anne Frank

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes

“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
― Jack London

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan

تبسمك في وجه أخيك صدقة، وأمرك بالمعروف صدقة ونهيك عن المنكر صدقة، وإرشادك الرجل في أرض الضلال لك صدقة، ونصرك الرجل الرديء البصر لك صدقة، وإماطتك الحجر والشوك العظم عن الطريق لك صدقة
“Smiling in your brother’s face is an act of charity. So is enjoining good and forbidding evil, giving directions to the lost traveler, aiding the blind and removing obstacles from the path.”

(Graded authentic by Ibn Hajar and al-Albani: Hidaayat-ur-Ruwaah, 2/293)
― Muhammad

RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTS OF CHARITY ON HEALTH

Many studies in the past ten years, have shown that engaging in acts of volunteerism and charity can greatly improve our health.  A report entitled, “The Health Benefits of Volunteering:  A Review of Recent Research,”   stated that a significant connection was found between volunteering and good health. The report shows that volunteers lived longer, had higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.  Studies such as, “Volunteering and Mortality Among Older Adults: Findings From a National Sample” by Marc A. Musick,  A. Regula Herzog and  James S. House,  and  “Volunteering and Health: What Impact Does it Really Have? A Report to Volunteering England” by Casiday, R. and Kinsman, E. and Fisher, C. and Bambra, confirm these findings.

There is also research evidence that volunteers make a difference to the health and well-being of service users.  Studies have found that those receiving charity and service experience an increased level of  self esteem, they are better able to manage and accept their illness and disease, and improved relationships with care providing staff and professionals.

Charity is clearly beneficial both the giver and the receiver. With that in mind, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we are always looking for volunteers here at the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, if you feel so inclined to give in service in this way. 😉  But in all seriousness, this article wasn’t written with that in mind.  Rather it’s a focus on maintaining a daily, moment to moment, state of consciousness of “charity,” this is the “agape” selfless, divine state, that was first discussed above.

HOW DO WE MAINTAIN A CHARITY CONSCIOUSNESS?

First we start with charity to ourselves. We can’t practice charity, until we are able to detox ourselves from mental stresses, emotional blocks, fears, and neglect. We must learn to love and care for ourselves so that we are able to truly give charity to ourselves and others, not just the “check it off the list” attitude.  When we can learn to care for ourselves with a joyful spirit of fun, then we begin to nourish and heal our bodies and we are better able to give charity to those around us.  This is true charity.  How do we do that?  We start listening to ourselves  and take action.  Here are a few tips:

      • keep a journal
      • meditate or pray
      • exercise regularly
      • eat healthy foods
      • see your trusted health-care specialist regularly
      • have fun doing things you love
      • follow your dreams, hopes, and desires
      • spend time with people who love and appreciate you
      • read uplifting, inspiring and motivational books or writings
      • join a support group
      • set goals and accomplish them
      • find a goal buddy to keep you on track
      • make a list of your talents and assets
      • make a list of charitable acts of service that are needed in your community

So next time a family member calls and wants us to help mow the lawn or take out the trash, we might want to think about the the wisdom shared today and the difference between true charity, and merely helping with a sense of  duty and responsibility.  Practicing true charity is a gift we give ourselves and others.  Let us end contemplating the words of Maya Angelou:

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou

The Effects of Volunteering on the Physical and Mental Health of Older People

Effects of Volunteering on the Well-Being of Older Adults

Volunteering and Mortality Among Older Adults: Findings From a National Sample – Marc A. Musick,  A. Regula Herzog and  James S. House

Volunteering and Health: What Impact Does it Really Have? A Report to Volunteering England. Casiday, R. and Kinsman, E. and Fisher, C. and Bambra

A Child’s View of Thunderstorms

Greetings, MBHA Friends.

After Every Storm

Click, copy, save and share with friends and family. After every storm the sun will smile.

A friends of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance sent us this lovely story today about how to see the best in everything, despite the stormy times.  This story mentions the word God once, within a quote from a child. MBHA respects all beliefs, however, the point of the story is NOT religious, it’s motivational, and all people can learn from it’s message.

Children open our eyes to the JOY in life. This is a story about learning to keep the delightful viewpoint of youth: To always celebrate life, be playful, have fun, and look for the best. To weather the storm.  To use the imagination and look beyond what the eyes and ears see and hear.

“After every storm…the sun will smile!”
                         -William R. Alger

A CHILD VIEW OF THUNDERSTORMS

A little girl walked to and from school daily. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with lightning.

The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school. She also feared the electrical storm might harm her child. Full of concern, the mother got into her car and quickly drove along the route to her child’s school. As she did, she saw her little girl walking along.

At each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up, and SMILE. More lightning followed quickly and with each, the little girl would look at the streak of lightning and smile.

When the mother drew up beside the child, she lowered the window and called, “What are you doing?”

The child answered, “I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture.”

~Author Unknown


Children have great imaginations and see beyond the projected fears and limitations of adults.

When we look at life with the delight and innocence of a child, we find joy and peace and our journey is lighter, unburdened from the stresses of the day.

Maybe something scary….is not so scary after all.  Sometimes we just need to take another look.

May we always see  with the eyes of a child, and fearlessly exploring and delighting in life, despite any and all stormy weather.

~Best wishes to you from the MBHA Staff and volunteers.

Persistence – The Secret to Success

Hello, wellness friends.

We at MBHA are discovering that nature often teaches us profound wisdom. Today the focus is on persistence and perseverance. Buddha says, “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through persistence.”  This is a gentle reminder of the miracles that occur when we use fearless, focused intention with perseverance and persistence.

Faith, persistence, and gratitude make miracles happen.

Persistence

Click and copy to share with friends. Focused effort and relentless, disciplined, perseverance and faith make miracles happen.

What is the secret to those who are successful in making their life dreams a reality? It is persistence, tenacity, drive, motivation, and hard work.  Einstein is quoted as saying, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work.”  The same or similar quotes can be found about success, happiness, and other cherished goals and desired achievements.  When we combine persistence with faith, and  a loving and grateful heart, this is when we see results.

It’s not enough just to work hard.  A hard worker who is a bitter, resentful angry one, will surely fail and this victim consciousness can affect others. This is because he/she is manifesting negativity and wallowing in his/her own swill. To make miracles happen and achieve our dreams, we must combine hard work with a grateful heart.  We keep the positive vision, yet take action.

“Vision without execution is hallucination.”
― Thomas A. Edison

There is no better example of this basic principle of manifestation than in nature. Nature shows us over and over again of the law of manifestation. We see this in the sun, the wind, the rain, the plants, and the animals. It’s the law of cause and effect.  What we give out to the universe, is what we receive back in turn.

So today we  here at MBHA remember the words of Buddha and the persistence of the rolling river, and we are grateful to you and to our universe for the many lessons and blessings of the earth.

With love and joy in life,
Your MBHA health and wellness friends