Each of us has an opportunity to help others through the holiday season. This year it is probably more meaningful than ever. I am sure that we all know of a family or an individual that could use some help. Giving to others is good medicine for our own mental health, as well. Although it may not last for long, when we give we get a feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction that we have done something good and right.
In a recent article, psychologist Randal Flannery and clinical psychiatrist Dr. Robert Cloniger offered some important tips about taking care of yourself as well as others. First, Take care of yourself. If you don’t , you may have nothing to give, if you let yourself get used up. Second, Whats to like about your life? Step back and take a good look at yourself. You will see how enjoyable your life is. Yes, you will have faults, we all do. But, you will also notice the little things that you do that brighten other lives as well. Third; Do what you want. Being generous is an individual trait. It is yours alone to exploit with how much and how far you want to go with your generosity. Do what inspires you not what you are obligated to do. Fourth;Be patient, something will come along. Something will strike your heart and inspire you to give or help.
Here are some helpful hints.
Food bank; They always need help and supplies. Errands; Run they for someone that can’t drive. Maybe you could take someone to a Doctors appointment. Mortgage and Heating bill; Pay someones for one month if you can afford it. Prepare or take someone to dinner; This can be a friend, a family member, or even someone on the street.Supply toys; There are many little children that will go without this year because of layoffs and unemployment. Send a care package to someone in the military; There are many of our service people that can’t come home for Christmas. Favorite Organization; We all have our favorite group. there is the United Way, Salvation Army, Boys Town, St. Jude’s, Cancer society, and many other great organizations that could use help. You just have to decide to stay local or go farther outside. Churches; Many churches are hurting from a lack of giving this year. Give a little more than usual.
Open doors for people, carry bags for them, buy them a drink, do some extra work for someone at the office or your job. Let someone go ahead of you in line at a store. Tip a little better at a restaurant. Do some extra chores around the home for your parents, spouse, etc. Smile a little more at others. Send a letter to a shut in individual. Make a hospital visit to someone you know. Give a dollar to little child. Little things add up. Ask yourself, “What can I do to be helpful?”
Bad times allow for good things to happen. Opportunities are there for each of us. If you disassociate yourself from things, you will get a dried up feeling inside. When you give, you are inconveniencing yourself. It is sort of a sacrifice.
Prime the pump; Pick five goals to do in one particular day. Do small acts of kindness. This will get you on your way to good mental welfare. Lastly, cultivate what you do my inspiring others to do the same thing or something similar. Don’t be boastful but, just slightly mention to others what you have done. This might tend to motivate them to look for ways to help others, too. Giving can be contagious.