Kindness Is Always in Season

Do you think you are kind? Although most of us act on kindness and service during the holidays, most don’t make kindness a priority beyond November and December. An NBC News poll showed 62 percent of us believe children aren’t as kind as they used to be. And 77 percent of us think parents are to blame for those declining figures. The poll results show that most parents believe teaching honesty (43 percent) is more important than teaching kindness (29 percent). But 52 percent of those polled believe kindness is an innate quality that doesn’t need to be taught. Although people may not agree on the process of being kind, there’s no doubt the world could use more of it, especially after the holidays are over.

Here are four ways to start practicing kindness and build a positive, happier life all year.
 

  1. Practice gratitude.

Like most worthwhile tasks, the act of gratitude takes practice. “It’s a practice to take a moment each day to take in natural beauty and reflect on positive events,” says Lori Chandler. “And like all practices, it takes stamina to stick to it.” Not only does showing gratitude improve the life situation for others as well as ourselves, but it’s also good for our health.

Related link: How to add meaning to the holiday season

“Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system is triggered, and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreasing cortisol levels and perhaps increasing oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that make us feel so good,” says Today Health and Wellness contributor Lauren Dunn. Simply identifying three things for which you are grateful will have a profound impact on kindness.
 

  1. Set new goals every month.

Rather than declaring this broad statement that your commitment to being more kind starts today and shall commence for the rest of your life, try taking smaller steps and reinforce this goal with new personal challenges every month. We come across new things to inspire us every day. And by allowing time to incorporate new things and change strategies when needed, we can continue to take charge of kindness all year.

Related link: 7 Ways seniors can make the new year happy

“We appreciate the efforts our staff makes every day to be patient and kind to those who need their help, saidDebra Koenig RN LNHA, executive director at Fort Dodge Health & Rehabilitation. “We recognize that this time of year can be overwhelming for both our staff and residents, so the kind service and support that they share with each other, regardless of their hectic personal lives, inspires me to be better and try harder all throughout the year.”
 

  1. Say “yes.”

The foundation for sharing kindness is loving ourselves. Inspired by the book, Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, written by television producer and creator Shonda Rhimes, saying yes to trying new things, playing instead of working, and placing our happiness as a priority can motivate people to share those positive feelings with others. “When you’re willing to do something uncomfortable, it inspires other people to take action themselves,” says Bernardo Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast. This act of paying it forward sets the stage for positive change.
 

  1. Commit to kindness every day.

It’s great to hear that the food bank shelves are filled in December, but what about March? People need to feel love and kindness every day of the year and not just during the holidays. “Kindness is not an ‘extra,” says Harriet Lerner, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Why Won’t You Apologize? “Kindness is at the heart of intimacy, connection, self-respect, and respect for others.”

The truth is the opportunities to be kind during the holidays present themselves all year. We just need to use the same eyes and ears that are so attuned to doing service during the holiday season and choose kindness every day.  “War, natural disasters, politics—you hit a point where you’re looking for positivity, but you don’t always know what to do or where to start,” says Kelsey Gryniewicz of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. “But that’s the power of kindness—it just takes one person, one act. You don’t need money or a ton of time.”

This article was previously published on 39 for Life and republished here with permission.

 

6 Life-Saving Facts about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As temperatures fall and people turn their focus to staying warm through the winter, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases. On average, more than 50,000 people visit the emergency room nationwide each year, and 400 die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very difficult to detect, so it is essential to take preventative measures and know the signs of poisoning. Read more

Volunteering may be for others, but the benefits belong to YOU

There’s a quote going around that says, Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. Many people believe their volunteer experiences changed the way they saw the people around them and developed a better appreciation of what they had. It isn’t often that one hour of doing something for others has the power to transform. Yet, it happens every day in a variety of causes. Read more

6 Easy Ways to Feel Gratitude When You’ve Seen It All

When you reach that point in your life when it seems you’ve seen it all and done it double that amount, it’s hard to stay fully aware of the amazing blessings in your life all of the time. But when you stop to think about it, we live in an exciting time where we can compare the knowledge of our lives in the past and marvel at the advancements we enjoy today. So when you find yourself grumbling about the good old days, consider these six blessings and compare them to day’s past. Read more

For First-Timers or Old-Timers, Here Are Five Tips for Your First Racing Experience

New cross-trainers—check.

Fitbit—check.

Sporty shorts and jacket—check.

New race tee shirt and entry number—check.

Oh yeah, we are feeling it! It’s springtime, and for those who prefer running to just about any other mode of transportation around town, that means it’s racing season. With race events scheduled all throughout the summer months, this could be the year for you to tackle a 5k or 10k like a champ.

If this is the year of your first race, here are five ways to get the most mileage out of your first racing experience. Read more

5 Ways Owning a Pet Is Good for Your Health

We have a dog named Rocky. He’s a 1-year-old maltipoo who will cuddle us whenever we want, can jump his entire height, and runs faster than any little dog we’ve seen. (He also still pees on the floor, but that’s another story.)

Since bringing Rocky home, I’ve noticed the benefits this fuzzy addition has brought to my family. Now, experts are discovering that owning a pet is not only good for our mood; pets are good for our health.

If you are considering adopting a pet, here are five ways your health would benefit. Read more

5 Fun Activities to Do with Your Loved Ones in a Nursing Facility

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re getting ready to visit your grandma at her nursing facility, but you are at a loss of how the two of you can spend fun, quality time together.

What are some things you can do that both of you will enjoy? This time is precious and it’s important to make the most of it.

Here is a list of different creative activities you and your loved one can do while they are in a nursing facility:

Crafts

Whether or not you’re a creative person, simple crafts can be a fun way to add some color to your time together. Crafts you and your loved one can do range from making holiday decorations to scrapbooking and even painting.

Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, says staff members enjoy providing seasonal and holiday-oriented craft projects for the residents.

“We just finished doing a Valentine’s project where we cut out hearts and placed them all over the facility,” he said.

Not only are these activities fun, but they can also help your loved one’s cognitive and motor skills.

Hand massages

Some nursing facilities, such as Provo Rehabilitation & Nursing, offer hand massages as one of its regular activities. You can give your own loved one a hand massage or manicure as a way to rejuvenate and relax them. Regular touch also communicates multiple positive emotions that can create a deeper connection. Try using essential oils or hand lotion in their favorite scent.

Make connections (phone call, storytelling)

Use your time together to share and collect memories and stories. Chances are your loved one has some great stories from growing up that you haven’t heard yet. Once they are gone, those stories may be lost forever. Take the time to ask them about their life and favorite memories. Consider journaling or recording these conversations so you can keep them for years to come.

Entertainment

Another way to bond with your loved one is to find a mutual love of some sort of entertainment and enjoy it together. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a board game, listening to music or watching a favorite movie, entertainment is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with each other. Many facilities, such as Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, provide different types of media that you can enjoy together. Consider inviting your loved one’s friends at the nursing facility to enjoy with you.

“Usually our biggest focus is on hobbies that our residents do at home,” said Walker. “We often start up a bowling session, which is great for balance and upper body strength, and the Wii gaming system is an excellent tool. We like the Wii Fit Program because it encourages standing balance and weight-shifting activities.”

Outings

While you may have to take a few precautions, going out or exercising can be a fun way to spend time with your loved one. You can garden, go out to lunch, see a play, walk to the park, or even stretch outside. The fresh air and quality time is sure to make for a wonderful day together.

If you’re not sure what to do with your loved one who’s staying in a nursing facility, try one of these activities. Remember, the important thing is that you make the most of your time together.

This article was previously published by the Daily Herald and republished here with permission.

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As the oldest woman in the world, 116-year-old Emma Morano credits her long life to a breakfast of two raw eggs every day. She also credits her longevity to staying single. She walked away from her marriage when she was 38 years old, and she’s been single ever since. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.

What sustains some people to live over a century, while others struggle with poor health? With some swearing by service or beer for breakfast, there are consistencies in the lives of centenarians. And some of them may surprise you. Read more