As we prepare to close off a year that has seen more anxiety, hate speech, anger, and divisive behavior than ever before, it is a good time now to review the WORDS we use as a way of bringing us back to calm and center.
1. Speak out loud and write words of gratitude.
As dark as times might be in our life, that ability to appreciate what we do have is not only good for the spirit but also good for our bottom line. According to David DeSeno, a professor in psychology at Northeaster University, “Gratitude makes us value the future more… overcoming our bias toward immediate gratification.” Gratitude also helps us become less materialistic as we realize that much we have to be grateful for are not things!
2. Ask people how you can help them.
Assisting people in need is a profound way to realize that we are all in this together. Whether giving time, talent, or treasure, you open your mind to adaptive thinking, a key resiliency ingredient. Just because I might not have the “treasure”, I might have the talent. For example, I want to support United World College designed to inspire students to create a more peaceful and sustainable future through education. The concept is that junior and senior high school students from around the globe live in a community on one of 17 campuses for two years. They graduate with an international baccalaureate degree and an understanding and appreciation of differences. While I don’t have–right now—the treasure to provide a scholarship, I have offered my writing talent to capture the story of amazing alums.
3. Say a gracious “no thanks” when your instinct tells you.
“No thank you.” “Not at this time.” “It appears we have a difference of opinions.” These phrases can keep us from a negative spiral that is draining and sometimes even demeaning. For example, I have a colleague who blasted out an angry email, making gross generalizations boldly stating that the recipients of the email were “snowflakes”—a term I later learned belonged to the “alt-right” vocabulary. I have chosen not to respond. My gut said it would be a tit-for-tat email exchange that could only get worse.
4. Speak words of love.
OK. This sounds rather suspicious and airy. However, Og Mandino, in his best selling book, The Greatest Secret in the World, introduces love as the first meditation theme. He writes: “I greet this day with love in my heart for only the unseen power of love will open hearts. I will praise my enemies and they will become friends. I will encourage my friends and they will become family. Always will I dig for reasons to applaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip.”
So on that note, I do love you, my faithful readers.And indeed... I am most grateful for you.