Ray's musings and humor

Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category

I am not as old as they say I am

“It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.”

Jules Renard

 aging

I would find it a lot easier forgetting how old I really am instead of how old my mind thinks I am if people would quit telling me. I just never really feel I am as old as my birth certificate says I am. Of course ignoring your real age is not always easy, there are too many reminders. My two daughters recent birthday’s made them a few years older than I was when I first retired. If that was not enough I got a call yesterday from a colleague I worked with more than fifty years ago and then I received a UPS delivery from American Express that was a gift celebrating my 50 years as an American Express member.

I think the secret of my graceful aging is a short memory. Here are excerpts from an article I got from the Heart of Healing blog that I like; I think it is never too soon to start to enjoy aging.

 

Aging Gracefully

More often than not, aging is viewed as something to be fought off for as long as possible. Regardless of how liberated we’ve become, many women and men still experience aging as a threat to their sense of self-worth and quality of life. It is pretty much expected that middle age will bring a “crisis” and far too often we hear seniors lament that “I thought these were supposed to be the golden years.” Whole industries are built on the attempt to stay young – from hair colors to face lifts to Viagra.

There is a place for all of these things, of course, but if your reaction to the aging process has you racing to beat time, I’d like to ask you to take a deep breath, relax, and give yourself some space to shift into a different perspective on aging. What if aging were equated with getting better rather than worse? What if you lived in a culture which reveres the elderly and views them as a repository of power and wisdom? Since how we age has so much to do with our attitudes and beliefs, such a shift in perspective could make a world of difference.

Aging Well in the Culture of Youth

To age “gracefully” in a culture which idolizes youth requires inner strength and wisdom. Hopefully we can ask questions together about our common notions and experiences with aging, so that we can not only do away with some myths about aging which limit our quality of life, but also discover some of the “perks” of aging that we often ignore. There are lots of role models who have led the way for us. Did you know, for example, that:

Martha Graham danced professionally until she was 76?

Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals at the age of 78?

Georgia O’Keefe continued painting well into her 90s?

Vitality in “later life” is not just for the famous. Undoubtedly everyone knows at least one person who is living a vital, fulfilling life “despite” their age. This is really the way it should be – life should become better as we age.

Two Basic Requirements of Graceful Aging

What I’ve discovered is that there are two “basic requirements” of graceful aging. To borrow from the “Serenity Prayer”, graceful aging requires the “serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference.”  Certainly acceptance of aging is a key to aging gracefully – but which of the changes that commonly come with age are the “things we cannot change” and which are the “things we can change?”

What You Can and Cannot Change — Importance of Relaxation

The bottom line, as I see it, is the ability to relax with whatever challenges us at any given time and that includes the changes aging brings. When we are relaxed, we are open to different ways of looking at things.

What We Can Change — The Role of Attitude and Lifestyle

It’s been discovered that attitude has an enormous role in how we age. Much of the decline that people experience with aging comes about due to the belief that decline in function and quality of life is part and parcel of aging. It’s never too late to change the two most important ingredients to graceful aging – attitude and lifestyle.

The appearance and function of our body changes and requires that we adapt. Our roles change dramatically as our children grow older and leave home, and we become grandparents rather than parents. At some point, many of us become parents to our parents as they enter their final years.

Finally, graceful aging means finding a balance between acceptance of the inevitability of aging and doing what we can to remain vital and healthy as long as possible. Once again, we emphasize the importance of relaxing. Acceptance involves relaxation into life and the ability to flow with change. When we are relaxed, we stop fighting the inevitable. At the same time, relaxation is a key to better health and greater vitality.

~~~

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent – that is to triumph over old age.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich

~~~

 

“New Medications For Women”

S t  M o m ‘s  W o r t – Plant extract that treats mom’s depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.

E m p t y N e s t r o g e n – Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn’t wait till they moved out.

F l i p i t o r – Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

B u y a g r a – Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.

J a c k A s s p i r i n – Relieves the headache caused by a man who can’t remember your birthday, anniversary or phone number.

~~~

A headstone in a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery reads: Here lays The Kid. We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger but slow on the draw.

~~~

The Reverend said: I was called to the nursing Home to perform a wedding. An anxious old man met me at the door. I sat down to counsel the old man and asked several questions. “Do you love her?” The old man replied, “Nope.”

“Is she a good Christian woman?” “I don’t know for sure,” the old man answered.

“Does she have lots of money?” I asked the old man. “I doubt it.”

“Then why are you marrying her?” I asked. “Cause she can drive at night,” the old man said.

~~~

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Sir James M. Barrie

~~~

Mrs. Broomfield’s dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman. He couldn’t accommodate her with an evening appointment, and since she had to go to work the next day, she told him: “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you the check. By the way, don’t worry about my Rottweiler. He won’t bother you. But, whatever you do, do not under any circumstances talk to my parrot!”

When the repairman arrived at Mrs. Broomfield’s apartment the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Rottweiler he had ever seen. But, just like she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet, watching the repairman go about his business.

However, the whole time he was there, the parrot drove him nuts with his incessant squawking and talking. Finally the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled, “Shut up, would you just shut up you stupid bird!”

The parrot sat quietly for a moment, and then replied: “Sic him, Brutus!”

~~~

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.

Agatha Christie

~~~

Stay well, do good work, and have fun.

Ray Mitchell

Indianapolis, Indiana

Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.

This daily is sent only to special people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can request to be added by e-mailing me at raykiwsp@gmail.com. Back issues are posted at https://raykiwsp.wordpress.com/ currently there are about 2000 readers from around the world.

 

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Ray made it back

“The sun beams are always there. The trick is in seeing them.”

Laurence Gonzales

 survived

I last left you about a month ago for what was going to be a brief period so I could be in the hospital for two days for some surgery. As it turned out the operation was a success and I was released in the early evening the next day only to return to the hospital the next morning with what turned out to be consumptive heart failure and pneumonia. I only remember the first few hours on admission day and became fully aware a couple of days later when I awoke in the intensive care unit. I do have brief memories of the discomfort caused by the pipe down my throat and the like. To make a long story short I am told it was a near thing and that fortunately I survived. After my total of nine days in the hospital I was moved to a rehabilitation facility where I spent the next three weeks receiving physical and occupational therapy. And now I am home and back with you and it is great. I will be doing further recovery activities but as an outpatient.

I now understand I may not be immortal after all so I will have to moderate my plans somewhat and tweak my lifestyle and that is probably a good thing. I am sorry I missed most of November and part of December as that is when I usually work with the Salvation Army, my Kiwanis club and other organizations doing good works in the spirit of the season. While I hope to soon be fully recovered I will have to restrict some of my more adventurous activities.

As I was recovering a week or so ago I wrote the following to a few friends and family members:

 

My recovery status

My recovery from my heart failure is progressing. I have two sessions of physical therapy each day that are rapidly returning me to mobility. My eighteen pound weight loss helps too.

I have decided that the days ahead are each important and rather than just letting them go by I plan on living them to the fullest. I will treat each day as if it may be my last.

Here are some random thoughts from my recovery:

  • I will not take on responsibilities or tasks that I may not be able to finish.
  • I will continue to help all l can whenever I can.
  • I will appreciate my friends and others I meet and let them know that I do.
  • I will continue to maintain my workouts to maintain my health.
  • I will continue to explore and learn all I can.

Now my best to you all.

Stay well. Do well and fare well.

 

I am sure as I adjust my activities some may think I am reducing some of my commitments because of a lack of interest in what is being done. Rather I want to make sure I don’t take responsibility for doing something and then having to let others down. I fully intend to provide as much help and support as they want me to but I will not take on a slot that would be better filled by someone who can reliably do what needs to be done.

You have often heard me say that I never worry until it is too late and then if there is a problem I try to deal with it as an event and do the best I can. In this case I am glad that I did not worry for if I had known I was about to face one of the toughest periods of my life I probably would have worried far too much.

So now my friends we move on to better days, both you and I have a lot to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead.

~~~

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.

Aristotle

~~~

More health definitions for those of us who are not in the profession:

Diarrhea — journal of daily events

Dilate — to live long

Enema — not a friend

Fester — quicker

Fibula — a small lie

Genital — non-Jewish

G.I. Series — soldiers’ ball game

Grippe — suitcase

~~~

How do you get off a non-stop flight?

~~~

“Your Honor, I want to bring to your attention how unfair it is for my client to be accused of theft. He arrived in New York City a week ago and barely knows his way around. What’s more, he only speaks a few words of English.”

The Judge looked at the defendant and asked, “How much English can you speak?”

The defendant looked up and said, “Give me your wallet!”

~~~

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

~~~

A psychology student was to help a professor in conducting a personality test. The room was set up with various props in order to move through the assessment quickly. The first person to enter the room started through the test.

“How does this glass of water look to you?”

Person 1: It is half empty.

Student writes ‘pessimist’ in his report.

Person 2 enters the room. “How does this glass of water look to you?”

Person 2: It is half full.

Student writes ‘optimist’ in his report.

Person 3 enters the room. “How does this glass of water look to you?”

Person 3: Looks like you have twice as much glass as you need there.

The student looks totally blank and goes to consult with the professor. “Oh them!” the professor says, “I forgot to warn you about the engineers! They have no personality.”

~~~

The way I see it, if you want to see the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

~~~

She said:

After directory assistance gave me my boyfriend’s new telephone number, I dialed him — and got a woman.

“Is Mike there?” I asked.

“He’s in the shower,” she responded.

“Please tell him his girlfriend called,” I said and hung up.

When he didn’t return the call, I dialed again. This time a man answered. “This is Mike,” he said.

“You’re not my boyfriend!” I exclaimed.

“I know,” he replied. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell my wife for the past half-hour.”

~~~

It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.

Robert H. Schuller

~~~

Stay well, do good work, and have fun.

Ray Mitchell

Indianapolis, Indiana

Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.

This daily is sent only to special people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can request to be added by e-mailing me at raykiwsp@gmail.com. Back issues are posted at https://raykiwsp.wordpress.com/ currently there are about 2000 readers from around the world.

My third week on the road to recovery

My recovery from my heart failure is progressing. I have two sessions of physical therapy each day that are rapidly returning me to mobility. My eighteen pound weight loss helps too.

I have decided that the days ahead are each important and rather than just letting them go by I plan on living them to the fullest.I will treat each day as if it may be my last.
Here are some random thoughts from my recovery:
I will not take on responsibilities or tasks that I may not be able to finish.
I will continue to help all l can whenever I can.
I will appreciate my friends and others I meet and let them know that I do.
I will continue to maintain my workouts to maintain my health.
I will continue toexplore and learn all I can.

Now my best to you all.

Stay well. Do well and fare well.

The bad news is good news!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

 

I got some bad news on Friday when I visited my hematologist for tests. The results showed that my blood medications were not doing the job and that my hemoglobin was substantially below normal. The good news is that they found that my hemoglobin was substantially below normal and that the resulting significant anemia has probably contributed to all the problems I have had over the last six months or so. What is good about the discovery is that there are things we can do to bring me back to acceptable ranges.

For years I had to go to the hospital and get infusions of iron on a regular basis. This past year they felt that mega doses of Iron taken orally would do the job and now we know it hasn’t. About six months ago I went through a series of pacemaker adjustments until we got a setting that reduced my chest pains, I then went through three months of cardiac rehabilitation and I got some of my stamina back. It worked so well that I joined a wellness center where I exercise every morning at 5 AM and that has helped a lot. But I also have found that I did not have sustained energy and the anemia may be why. So in two days I will undergo an Iron Absorption test followed by visits to the hospital three days a week for at least the rest of the month for a regimen of iron infusions. I’ll get more reading time in while there and if they work as well as they should I’ll get to be me again in a month or so. Yippee!

Probably the greatest contribution I have found to my aging gracefully is bringing some commitment to good health into my lifestyle. I have found that while I let too many years go by it is never too late and the dividends are fantastic. Here are some suggestions made by others that I have found worthy.

  • Eat at roughly the same times each day. This might be two, three or more times but a routine encourages a reasonable weight.
  • Watch your portions. Don’t heap food on your plate (except for vegetables) and think twice before having second helpings.
  • Try to have five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Eat foods with reduced fat. Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings. Cut fat off meat.
  • Eat foods with reduced salt. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Eat healthier snacks. If you’re hungry between meals, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
  • Think about how you eat. Eat your meals at the table and it will help you focus on the amount of food you eat. Eat slowly because it takes time for your body to register how much food you’ve eaten and how full you are.
  • Walk every day.
  • Get enough sleep. The amount varies by individual and age, but most people need seven or eight hours a night. It’s important to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. There is some evidence that people who take a short nap during the day lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Be happy. Happiness helps healthiness, especially mental health.

~~~

In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Author Unknown

~~~

Near St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, I noticed two firefighters standing at the door of their ambulance.  The window was partly down, and they were talking to a small child inside, instructing her how to open the latch.  Nearby, a young mother looked on patiently.

Assuming they had invited the curious girl into the ambulance to check it out, and she’d locked the doors by mistake, I said, “She locked herself in, eh?”

“No, we locked ourselves out,” one of the men said.  “We borrowed her from her mother because she could fit through the open space in the window.”

~~~

I’m not cheap, but I am on special this week.

~~~

A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. “Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself,” she told the girl.

When they were coming out of the church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.

“Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.”

~~~

Thru the years I’ve noticed that conscience gets a lot of credit that really belongs to cold feet.

~~~

Moshe was taking to his psychiatrist. “I had a weird dream recently,” he says. “I saw my mother but then I noticed she had your face. I found this so worrying that I immediately awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I just stayed there thinking about it until 7am. I got up, made myself a slice of toast and some coffee and came straight here. Can you please help me explain the meaning of my dream?”

The psychiatrist kept silent for some time, then said, “One slice of toast and coffee? Do you call that a breakfast?”

~~~

“Doctor, I’d like you to evaluate my 13 year-old son.”

“He’s suffering from a transient psychosis with an intermittent rage disorder, punctuated by episodic radical mood swings, but his prognosis is good for full recovery.”

“How can you say all that without even meeting him?”

“Didn’t you say he was 13?”

~~~

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

~~~

A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following exchange:

Officer: May I see your driver’s license?

Driver: I don’t have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.

Officer: May I see the owner’s card for this vehicle?

Driver: It’s not my car. I stole it.

Officer: The car is stolen?

Driver: That’s right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner’s card in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There’s a gun in the glove box?

Driver: Yes sir. That’s where I put it after I shot and killed the woman who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.

Officer: There’s a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!?

Driver: Yes, sir.

Hearing this, the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the tense situation:

Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

Driver: Sure. Here it is. It was valid.

Captain: Who’s car is this?

Driver: It’s mine, officer. Here’s the owner’ card. The driver owned the car.

Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there’s a gun in it?

Driver: Yes, sir, but there’s no gun in it. Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.

Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk? I was told you said there’s a body in it.

Driver: No problem. Trunk is opened; no body.

Captain: I don’t understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn’t have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glovebox, and that there was a dead body in the trunk.

Driver: Yeah, I’ll bet he told you I was speeding, too

~~~

If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want.

Elbert Hubbard

~~~

Stay well, do good work, and have fun.

Ray Mitchell

Indianapolis, Indiana

Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.

This daily is sent only to special people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can request to be added by e-mailing me at raykiwsp@gmail.com. Back issues are posted at https://raykiwsp.wordpress.com/ currently there are about 2000 readers from around the world.

Time for an autumn mind cleaning

With an unquiet mind, neither exercise, nor diet, nor physick can be of much use.

Samuel Johnson

Yesterday I suggested we would all be better off if we slowed down some and invested more time in enjoying our lives. What I find interesting as I think about why so many of us put off enjoying ourselves is how many of us are convinced we are too busy. Finally it dawned on me that as often as not it is our mind that is busy, cluttered with thoughts that keep us from doing what we might otherwise do if we were not so distracted.

People who have learned to mediate seem to have the ability to focus, prioritize and then get things done on a timely basis. I know the principles of meditation and have even had some success on occasion but more often than not a pesky thought would intrude and like the devil lead me astray. But at least I have learned that mind clutter can be debilitating.

So what is the solution? Mind clutter cleanup is one answer. Here are some tips on how to do that authored by coaching psychologist Avril Allen.

De-cluttering the mind tips:

• Decide to experiment with slowing your mind down however scary it feels. Give yourself a time limit for this. In this way you reassure a part of your mind that you will not become a vegetable and will resume everyday thinking at a certain time or day. You have to be strategic with the psyche and negotiate or the thinking brain will fear redundancy!

• Worry a lot — but again, within strict time limits. This is a cognitive psychology method which can work well. Decide to take time to do nothing but worry — this can be 5-15 minutes a day, but I suggest you take no longer than 20 minutes for this. Then stop! Tell yourself that you have done all the worrying you are going to do for today. In this way you are taming your mind, much as you would a wayward pet causing havoc in your home. Your brain is a wonderful tool but like technology, it is there to serve you, not to rule you, and is much too powerful to leave un-tamed.

• Find a picture, a metaphor which appeals to you for letting your thoughts go by. Images of thoughts as leaves in the wind or on a river; clouds changing as they pass by in the sky representing the essence of the deeper, more essential mind work for me because I relate to wild life and nature so strongly, but you may imagine traffic passing by as you stand on a bridge over a motorway or whatever works for you.

• Then smell the roses. Watch the real leaves and clouds moving on the breeze…focus on the sensations in your body you normally do not take time to notice — variations from place to place of warmth and coolness; heaviness or lightness; tensions — but be gently aware of them and do not struggle with them, just keep your awareness moving through your sensations. Pulses and rhythms, the dance of the blood in your veins. There will be areas in the body that feel good, we often do not notice them. In other words, experience Now.

~~~

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Chuang Tzŭ

~~~

After the church service, a little boy told the pastor, “When I grow up, I’m going to give you some  money.”

“Well, thank you,” the pastor replied, “but why?”

“Because my daddy says you’re one of the poorest preachers we’ve ever had.”

~~~ ~~~

Family planning: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster

~~~

The woman was always frequenting small antique shops, but regardless of what she saw there, she always complained about something.  The quality was poor, the prices too high, or the selection was limited. The shop owners took it in stride, but one day, while ranting and raving, she yelled at the clerk, “Why is it I never manage to get what I ask for in your shop?”

The clerk simply smiled and replied, “Possibly, ma’am, because we’re too polite.”

~~~

“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about puppies.”

Gene Hill

~~~

While teaching children about world religions, a teacher asked her students to bring a symbol of their family’s faith to class. The next day, she asked each student to come forward and share the symbol with the class.

The 1st child said, “I’m Muslim, and this is my prayer rug.”

The 2nd child said, “I’m Jewish, and this is my family’s menorah.”

The 3rd child said, “I’m Roman Catholic, and this is my Mom’s rosary.”

The 4th child said, “I’m Greek Orthodox, and this is an icon of my patron saint.”

The 5th child said, “I’m Southern Baptist, and this is my casserole dish.”

~~~

I know so little that it astonishes me how many people know even less.

~~~

My daughter-in-law, pregnant with her second child, was certain she wanted an epidural for pain management during childbirth.  Her doctor asked her at which stage of labor she wanted the epidural administered.

Her response:  “Just meet me in the parking lot!”

~~~

Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

Benjamin Franklin

~~~

My phone bill was past due and I needed to change my service, so I had to visit the local office. The line wasn’t clearly formed, and there was an old man with a cane nearby me. It was unclear as to who was next. When we got to the front of the line, the man gestured to me and said, “After you.”

I smiled at him and said, “No, please, after you. I have all day.”

The he said, “No. You go ahead. My doctor says I have at least six months.”

~~~

Your only obligation in this or any other lifetime is to be true to yourself.

Richard Bach

~~~

He told me: As a high school football coach, I’m aware that student athletes tend to focus too much on sports. Bob, a fellow coach, was talking about one such player, who called him at home one night. When his wife informed the kid that Bob wasn’t home, he became frantic and said he had to speak to the coach right away.

“Just calm down, and I’ll have him call you as soon as he gets home,” the coach’s wife told him. “What’s your number?”

The flustered kid replied, “Three.”

~~~

Pour some water into a tub and stir it up.  Now try as hard as you can to calm the water with your hands; you will succeed in agitating it further.  Let it stand undisturbed a while, and it will calm down by itself.  The human brain works much the same way.

Koichi Tohei

~~~

Stay well, do good work, and have fun.

Ray Mitchell

Indianapolis, Indiana

Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile

This daily is sent only to special people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can request to be added by e-mailing me at raykiwsp@yahoo.com. Back issues are posted at http://raykiwsp.multiply.com/journal and https://raykiwsp.wordpress.com/ currently there are about 2000 readers from around the world.

Ray’s Back

I just got back home from my trip to Canada and the East Coast and thought today I would send you this meaningful blog from one of my favorite people, Gretchen Rubin since I have a huge backlog of mail to handle.

 

I’ll restart the daily on Monday.

Ray

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Rubin

 

The Happiness Project

 

One big tip to help make you feel happier during the economic crisis — and combat poverty, at the same time.

 

The folks at Blog Action Day were prescient in their choice of “Poverty” as this year’s subject. The current economic situation will mean that people already living in poverty will suffer more, and that more people will face poverty.

 

For many people, however, the financial crisis won’t push them into true poverty, but it will make them feel much poorer – and as a consequence, make them feel anxious and powerless.

 

If you’re one of those people, there is a way that you can both help people living in poverty and help yourself feel happier: Give to other people.

One of the most important principles I’ve learned from my happiness research is that although we assume that we act because of the way we feel, often we feel because of the way we act.

 

Therefore, if you don’t like the way you’re feeling, take action in the opposite direction — it sounds simplistic, but it’s almost uncannily effective. If you’re feeling poor, give something away. If you’re feeling powerless, take control of something. Also, one of the quickest ways to make yourself feel better is to be GRATEFUL. It’s hard to feel grateful when you’re thinking about your 401K’s drop in value; thinking about giving to people who are worse off will remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.

 

When we think of doing something to help people living in poverty, it’s easy to think about donating money — and to say, “Look, I’d like to help, but I can’t afford to give right now.” Or to think about donating time – and to say, “I’d love to volunteer, but I’ve got to focus on my job hunt.”

When you tell yourself that you can’t afford to give, you increase your feelings of panic and danger. If you find ways to give, you will show yourself that you have enough and more, that you can be generous, that you recognize that others have needs more pressing than your own – and that will make you feel better. This act doesn’t have to be huge. I have a friend who puts all her loose change in a jar at the end of the day, and when the jar is full, she gives it to her church. It’s not much money, but it’s constant. She’s done it for years, and by now, she’s probably given away a fair bit.

 

Maybe you can’t give money or time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give.

 

You could go through your closets and give the coats you don’t use anymore to a coat drive. Or you could go through your kids’ old books to see if you could give some to a group like Project Cicero, to go to a school or library in need.

 

Maybe you don’t have any stuff to give away. You could donate blood.

 

Maybe you are feeling so overwhelmed that even the thought of cleaning out a closet, or figuring out how to get to the closest blood bank, is something you just can’t face. You still have something to give to others – something precious, something life-changing, and you can sit right there at your desk, right now, and do it in about 25 seconds, without any further hassle. How? You can register to become an organ donor. If you support the idea of organ donation, but you haven’t signed up, take this chance to put your values into action. Do it! Right now! (Register online even if you’ve already signed an organ donor card, to make sure you’re in the online registry, which is far more accessible to doctors).

 

So act the way you want to feel. Acting with generosity, with gratitude, with compassion, will change your perception of your own situation. And it will improve the lives of others.

 

I don’t mean to suggest that people should only take steps to address poverty as a way to make THEMSELVES feel better. Obviously, we have a duty to help other people, regardless of how it makes us feel.

 

But when you’re feeling shocked and frantic, it can be hard to think about other people. Research shows that happy people are more helpful, more altruistic, and more interested in the problems of other people and society; unhappy people tend to be more defensive, self-absorbed, and isolated.

 

So by trying to make yourself feel happier, you are also preparing yourself to do a better job of helping others. Bolstering your own sense of calm and security will free you to think about other people. And if you can make this change in yourself by helping those living in poverty – well, that’s a perfect virtuous circle.

 

This is a good example of the extremely important Second Splendid Truth, which holds that:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;

One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

If you would like to learn more about Gretchen and subscribe to her excellent blog you can do so at http://www.gretchenrubin.com/

 

Stay well, do good work, and have fun.

 Ray Mitchell

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

This daily is sent only to special people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can join at http://groups.google.com/group/Rays-Daily. Back issues are posted at http://360.yahoo.com/raykiwsp currently there are about 1000 readers from all over the world.
 

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