Seven Tips for Making a Contribution in 2019
The New Year is almost here. It’s been a tumultuous time in local and world politics; scientists are predicting dire things for our environment, and many of us are feeling overwhelmed by all the bad news.
We’re feeling somewhat helpless and perhaps even a bit hopeless about the future. We don’t know what to do to make things better for ourselves, our families, our community and our planet.
Not that I’m the expert in all things, but I have a few thoughts about how we can be more empowered in 2019 to create a better life for ourselves and make a positive contribution in the coming year to our loved ones and to the world.
Here’s my list of the seven things we can do right now to create a better 2019.
1. Consider the environment. This has both global and selfish motivations. When we consider the environment in our day-to-day choices, we’re able to take the kinds of actions that will turn things around for the better. On a selfish basis, when we help our planet we create a safer, healthier world for our children and for all the generations to come.
2. Slow down and breathe. By this, I mean that we should be more mindful. So much of what we do on a moment-to-moment basis is reactive. We rarely stop to consider how we’re feeling, what we need, or what might be the best course of action right now. When we slow down and breathe we have a chance to think things through and make conscious, deliberate decisions. This makes us much more competent and effective in our personal and professional lives.
3. Be kind. Again, this is a two-sided act; both selfish and selfless. When we’re kind to others we do a lot of good in the world and people want to pay it forward, so the kindness multiplies. On a selfish level being kind, caring and generous will make us happier and give us a greater sense of belonging, as numerous studies have proven. The more altruistic we are, the more joyful, peaceful and connected we feel.
4. Think Big Picture. We do so many things for immediate gratification without thinking of the long-term effects of these actions. By the same token, we avoid so many things because of the possibility of momentary discomfort, never thinking about the long-term effects of this avoidance. When we think Big Picture, we’re able to make the kinds of choices that bring ourselves and those around us the meaningful, long-term benefits we all deserve.
5. Unplug. More and more studies are coming out and saying how important it is to do more in-the-world activities, as opposed to strictly online ones. We’re seeing the benefits of more in-person interactions, as opposed to solely online ones, as well. More and more people are going analog with objects like record players, print books, typewriters and instant cameras. We’re recognizing how pleasurable and healthful it is to engage with real objects and real people.
6. Get outside. Multiple studies have shown that it’s tremendously beneficial to spend time in nature. It’s good for body, mind and soul to walk in the woods or sleep under the stars. Even if it’s just going to the corner park, being around the flowers and the trees and looking up into the sky immediately calms us and renews our spirit. It also helps to remind us that we live in the natural world and helps to focus our attention on matters of conservation.
7. Become a feminist. We finally need to see the term “feminist,” as a good word. Feminists have never been man-haters and we’ve never wanted more than our fair and equal share. Women are one half of the population but we’re still treated like inferiors. We’re objectified and harassed in our personal and professional lives. We have fewer rights; we’re certainly not listened to when we speak out about abuses, and we’re paid far less than our male counterparts in almost every line of work. If everyone, male and female, were to become a feminist, then men and women would finally be seen as equal and we could all work together and focus our attention on the betterment of the world.
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