Five Rules of Giving

 

I don’t always get it right. That was pretty obvious yesterday when I opened a “thank you” email. Although happy to be the recipient of some gratitude, I felt a twinge of shame. You see, in the spirit of giving, I extended a stranger a profession courtesy, no charge, no strings attached, just to be helpful and practice kindness. I like doing that. Later I grumbled in my head for at least 48 hours about the silence. Where was a gracious show of appreciation? I wanted something in return. Nothing much, just a thank you.

My “Aha” Moment

After receiving the email I realized the need to make some changes.  Obviously, due to my desire for gratitude, my act of kindness had a string attached.  A true and sincere giver expects nothing in return. Not only did I want a “thanks a lot,” I wanted it in my defined time frame. Like NOW! When I didn’t get it, I indulged in negative thoughts about allowing others to take advantage of me.

As this wasn’t the first time I found my  face red over fake selfless acts, I decided to teach myself a lesson and immediately  and began plotting to overcome my desire for give and take.

The result of my self-assigned homework, is my “List of Five.” Yep…five life rules I’m putting into action.

 

Rule Number One

If you’ve ever been to a second grader’s softball game, you may have noticed no one keeps score. Based on that philosophy, number one on my list of corrective action items is, “Throw away the scoreboard.”  That’s right. No more quid pro quo. No longer will I use a mental clipboard to keep score.

Passing On a Good Deed

Coupling my new rule with a familiar phrase and philosophy I penned, “Pay it forward,” as number two on my list. We’ve all been the recipient of kind acts. Passing on a random act of kindness makes our world a little brighter. My new mantra was kindness, whenever possible. As I considering it for a moment, I underlined it…TWICE!

One Way Giving

Often my expectations run high. Had I given freely, with no agenda, the thank you email would have been a sweet surprise making number three on my list, “Set no expectations.” 

Abundant Kindness

Reviewing my list, I smiled. Then another thought occurred to me. There is no such thing as too much kindness. Quickly I penned my number four, “Give, give and give some more.” 

 

Be My Best Self

Five seemed like the right number so the last thing I wrote is directed at being my best self. Any success I’ve experienced in my career was because I took my job seriously. Got it! My fifth and final rule is, “It is my job to be kind.”

This week I’m determined to put my big five into practice. Thanks for reading this post. I’d love to hear about your top five.

Laughing My Way Through 2018 The Value in Becoming a Humorholic

 

Every year, right after Christmas, I hole up in my office reflecting  on the past year and creating my goals for the next twelve months. Wait! Don’t stop reading, I’m not going to bore you with what you already know about how to create a list of things you want to accomplish in 2018. Instead, I’d like to share some information about one item on my list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I’m aspiring to the status of humorholic. The inspiration came to me by reading a rather dated book filled with wisdom. In 1998, humorist, Larry Wilde,  published “When You’re Up to Your Eyeballs in Alligators: How to Use Your Sense of Humor for Unlimited Success, Better Health & Staying Sane When the World Gets a Little Crazy.”

Why Humor?

Larry’s book, regaling the multiple benefits of humor, convinced me to develop this skill. We all know that laughter is a timeless wonder drug, but listen up all you people who join a gym, Jenny Craig or Weight Watcher’s every January. (All  good things of course). But, did you know that during a solid belly laugh we lose 35 calories? Just think, if you do that internal jogging brought on by tickling your funny bone 15 times/day you can burn 525 calories. (As Larry puts it, “You can laugh your ass off.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Healthier 

Another prominent by-product of humor is enhanced immunity. Scientific evidence indicates there are physical and chemical links between the mind and the immune system. Back in 2012, studies at Loma Linda University revealed that watching a comedy video strengthens your immune system in measurable ways.

How about reducing your stress level? There is nothing silly about the fact that laughter reduces hormones that cause stress. Perhaps the reason most optimists are healthy people is a positive state of mind keeps healthy people well and also speeds up the recovery process in those who are ill.

Career Benefits

For those of you placing extra focus on your career in the coming year, note a study done by executive recruiting firm Robert Half International revealed individuals with a sense of humor do better at their jobs than those with little or no active funny bone. Looking to get that promotion? In addition to all your hard work, try making your boss and peers laugh more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. (Being blonde, that one’s a no-brainer for me.) Self-deprecating humor is a powerful force in bonding with others.

So, if your convinced becoming a humorholic will improve many areas of your life, add it to your list just like I did. Please leave your comments, or a joke if you are so inclined. I love hearing from YOU!

The Perfect Reason to Journal Even if journaling is not your thing

Whenever Amanda walks in my office the first thing she does is pull out her constant companion, her journal, and bring me up to date on what transpired since our last session. I admired my client’s dedication to journaling. The process of chronicling her thoughts and insights on daily happenings works well for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People journal for a variety of reasons ranging from improving focus and mental clarity to experiencing a sense of accomplishment in recording achievements.

I rarely recommend journaling to my clients although I probably should. It can be a viable stress reliever, used to catch insightful thoughts and creative ideas, but frankly, journaling is not my thing. Why don’t I journal? It’s a process I don’t enjoy. Suffice it to say, different strokes. What works for Amanda doesn’t necessarily work for me.

But keep reading, as I do have one important singular exception to my personal journaling outlook. You can journal whenever you like, or not, but when a stressful situation results in a multitude of negative thoughts bouncing around in your brain, I recommend you sit in a quiet place and take pen to paper or tap away at your keyboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to studies at UCLA when participants wrote down their negative emotions, versus verbalizing, activity in the alarm center of the brain (called the amygdala) decreased. In layman’s terms, brain scans proved committing your feelings in writing stopped the madness. Once you quiet those gremlins in your head, tranquility sets in and you can calmly begin to sort the problem that had you bouncing off the walls.

Stop and think about a time when a stressful experience occurred that you did not handle very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No doubt you stayed inside your head and held negative thoughts captive. Without a pathway to clear those pessimistic feelings, you ended up reacting to emotion and making poor decisions.  Perhaps you blurted out things you regret or acted impulsively.

Of course it’s too late to rewind what’s said and done, but never too late to employ this particular journaling strategy.  The next time you feel overwhelmed by a boatload of stress take a time out to steal away and capture all the pent up negativity on paper.

No judging and no editing anything out. Remember, this is for your eyes only. Write until you feel totally empty of all those bleak thoughts.

When you finish, take a deep cleansing breath and feel a calmness settle over you.  At that point, I believe you will find you are able to rationally and successfully deal with the issue. Give it a try!