Thought for the week: “Even when the world around me seems to be at its worst, I can choose to be at my best.” – Bryan Yager
I have noticed a common thread in almost all of my conversations with people around the country over recent weeks and months. People from all age groups, and all walks of life, report feeling tired, depressed, stressed, down, angry, discouraged, lost, overwhelmed, and lethargic just to name a few the emotions they have described. Sound familiar? How are you today?
These people are from all my social circles including family, personal, and professional. Many speak of being more irritable with their spouses, children, coworkers, neighbors and even strangers in the grocery store. They are less patient, loving, and understanding… simply put, they don’t seem to be themselves and are most certainly not being their “best selves.”
While I am not a mental health professional, I suspect for many, these are indictors of grief, ranging from simple to serious. These emotions can be indicators of the normal and natural human grieving process, perhaps a topic for another day. For some, these emotions could even be indicators of depression*.
The grieving process is often triggered by a sense of physical or emotional loss. I believe almost all of us are grieving something. We may be grieving something as basic as the loss of our normal routines, like shopping without a mask, hanging out with friends, going to a movie, or cheering on our favorite collegiate football team.
For countless others, the sources of grief are much more significant and painful. Some are grieving the loss of a loved one. Many of us are grieving the rampant lack of civility in our country. Watch any episode of the national news; there seems to be countless reasons for a sense of loss, grieving and even depression.
The point is, most of are grieving something and we all grieve differently. As a result, we have an entire world of people not thinking, or behaving, at our best. This is not good for any of us.
Here are two “think abouts” for your consideration this week*:
Choose to respond intentionally, not react emotionally.
Between any event, and our response to that event, is a small space, a small window of opportunity; it is in that space where we have the freedom to choose our response. We can react to, and/or with our emotions, or we can choose to respond more intentionally, productively, and proactively based upon our values, vision, and aspirations for the world in which we all live.
Being reactive, or consciously proactive, is a choice we can make all day, every day. Think about the word responsibility… if you see yourself as a responsible person, you are saying you have “response – ability.” Or, said another way, responsible people are “response able” by choice, they choose how they respond! Intentionally! With purpose!
Even when the world around us seems to be at its worst, we can choose to be at our best.
Do something positive for another human being.
Last week, I was sharing my observations about so many people being in a “bad mood” with a good friend of mine. His advice was, “Go do something positive for someone else, anything big or small, it doesn’t matter. Just do something for someone.” (Thank you Bill Gillispie!) When we do something good for others, we get little shots of dopamine that help us feel better. The more good things we do for others, the more dopamine we will enjoy. It’s a truly magical win/win option; you feel better while helping others to feel better! Try it, it works!
I might also boldly suggest if you are feeling down or depressed, get off of social media and get on with real life. Call someone to cheer them up, write a letter, make a loaf of zucchini bread for your neighbor, read a book, learn to play piano, meditate or pray, volunteer at a food pantry, donate an unused laptop to a local school, help an elderly neighbor with their yard-work, go for a walk, hike or to the gym… the list is endless. What are your ideas?
Send me a note on what you have been doing to stay positive and upbeat, I would love to share your ideas with other readers.
And, as an fyi only, our team has a goal to feed over 2,000 hungry/homeless/veterans before the end of the year and we would welcome your donations, help, and/or simple best wishes. We’re talking about major dopamine here folks… we would love to share some with you!!
How will you love, live, or lead differently or better this week?
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- “Civility costs nothing and buys everything.” – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- “Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another, and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other.” – Desmond Tutu
- “Maturity begins when we’re content to feel right about something without feeling the necessity to prove someone else wrong.” – Sidney J. Harris
- “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
* Clinical depression is a real thing and can be serious. Please consult a mental health professional if you suspect you are facing continued and persistent feelings of depression.