I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Make volunteering a priority in 2017

There have been many studies done on the benefits of volunteering.  Without a doubt, it has proven to have positive effects on our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.  Volunteering can bring happiness and fulfillment to your life.  It helps you become more confident, connects you to other amazing people, may help advance your career and give you a sense of purpose.

Volunteering not only benefits you, it also benefits the people you are helping.  It brings encouragement and makes them feel more valuable.  By feeling that someone cares, it can change the entire direction of their lives

Families and friends also benefit from your volunteering efforts.  It lets them see love in action and it shows them how volunteering makes a difference.  Anyone who notices your acts of kindness will be affected in a positive way.

However, even if nobody notices what you have done, it still makes a huge difference in your own life.  The real purpose of volunteering is doing something and expecting nothing in return.  We should never volunteer just to get recognition.  Working for an organization that answers calls from people in distress or writing letters to lonely people far away can go unnoticed by others but it will still bring positive benefits to you.

Start the New Year with a resolution that will make an important and valuable difference in your life and the lives of others.  Resolve to volunteer for a local organization and bring in the happiness!  Even 2 hours a month can make a difference to someone.  I have volunteered for years and I know the benefits it brings!

Here is an article on the benefits of volunteering for teenagers.  Being a volunteer and showing a good example to your children will teach them valuable lessons that will enrich their lives.  Get them started young and help them become responsible, caring adults.

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Give a smile away

Whenever I go to one of the local malls, I always see people sitting alone in the common areas.  Most of these people are seniors who probably don’t have a lot of contact with family and friends.  They come to the mall to sit and watch people so they can at least feel like they aren’t alone.  But does this really help?  Does it make them feel less alone?  I’ve often been in a crowd and still felt very much alone, so just being around people doesn’t fill in that empty space inside.

I feel bad for the people I see sitting alone in the mall but I give them credit for getting out of their house or apartment.  Just the fact that they are getting their bodies moving, breathing some fresh air and socializing at a distance does help them in a small way.  Many people who are lonely just stay inside and rarely venture out except for a doctor’s appointment or to quickly pick up a few groceries.

This is a great opportunity to give a smile away.  When you see someone sitting alone and looking forlorn, make a point of getting their attention and giving them the biggest smile you can manage.  I try to say hello and maybe mention something positive about the day or even compliment them on what they are wearing (if suitable).  If you have a few minutes, maybe you could even sit down beside someone for a quick rest and try starting a light conversation.

Whether you give away a smile, a few kind words or a short conversation, it can make a difference in someone’s life.  You may be the only one who has taken the time to acknowledge them in a long time and it could positively impact them.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to give away a smile.  It costs you nothing but it can have huge rewards!

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How do you treat other people?

We all want people to be nice to us and treat us with respect.  Unfortunately there are a lot of people who don’t even know how to treat other people with respect because they haven’t been treated very well themselves.  Kindness can be contagious so maybe we could start the ball rolling.  If we started being nice to other people and treating them with respect and kindness, it might affect them in a positive way.  Of course, it won’t happen instantly but in time, our good example might just help teach them how to be nice.

So how do you treat other people?  When someone is hurtful and mean, do you respond in the same way or do you respond with kindness.  Being negative in a negative situation will never have a positive outcome!  Let’s start showing people what it looks like to have a good attitude and be a kind, loving person:)  What have you got to lose?  Maybe some negativity?

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Don’t stick your nose in other people’s business

A few days ago, there was an incident at my home that made me remember this phrase.  My daughter’s small dog, Maizie, was staying with us for a couple of days and she was out playing with our two dogs in the backyard.   Our smaller dog is always trying to put her nose and paws under the fence between our property and the next door neighbour, probably to tease the 2 dogs next door.  One of these dogs is big and scary and it growls and tries to bite our dog but thankfully the fence has stopped a disaster from happening.   I was working in the back yard when I heard our 2 small dogs and the big dog next door growling and barking.   Before I could see what was going on, I heard a loud scream from Maizie and I knew that the big dog had hurt her in some way.   As I ran to the fence, I realized she was caught by the big dog and trying hard to get loose.  Finally she broke away and ran over to me with blood dripping down her face.  I was panicking that part of her nose had been ripped off, but as she kept licking her wound, I could see that it was only a couple of small punctures.   Thankfully, it was just a minor incident, but it could have been worse.

The point I want to make is that we have to be careful what we stick our nose into.   We should always try to help someone if we see that they are struggling, but if a situation is out of control or dangerous, we should stop first and consider the best way to handle it.

  • If a friend is noticeably going through a difficult time, it can be helpful if we try to engage them in a conversation and just listen to what they say.   However, if they tell us they don’t want to discuss anything, we have to respect their wishes and let them deal with the situation on their own.
  • If we see someone who is being bullied, we should step in and firmly (not aggressively) help them stand up to the bully.  However if there are 3 bullies and one person being bullied, or they have weapons, we should call the authorities and wait close by in case we are able to help the bullied person.
  • If the family next door is always arguing, we don’t need to keep watching them and sharing what we see and hear with other people in gossip.  This isn’t really our business and we certainly wouldn’t want our personal arguments shared with anyone.  However if they seem to be hurting each other physically,  we should contact the appropriate authorities so they can get the help and protection they need.

It is human nature to want to know what is going on in other people’s lives, but it is not always our right.  Sometimes by sticking our nose into other people’s business it can do more harm than good.  Take each situation into careful consideration and determine what the outcome will be if you interfere in some way.  If you really think it will help, then give it a try.  If not, then leave it alone.

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Have you done something nice today?

Doing nice things for other people is a sure way to feel happiness.  When you put a smile on the face of a person who is feeling bad, it always makes you feel good.  Research shows that doing acts of kindness has many health benefits.

Every day I try my best to do something nice for another person and it is becoming a wonderful habit that usually brings great happiness into my life.   I rarely find someone who is not accepting of a kind act and it usually brings a smile to their face.

Today I was the recipient of not one but two acts of kindness!  We had a bad snow storm this morning and got a lot of snow dumped on us.  My husband was at work and I trying to shovel my car out of the driveway to get to my doctor’s appointment.   I looked across the street where my neighbour was also shovelling and wondered if I would get stuck in the drifts on the road.  We used to have a jeep and I was never concerned about getting stuck, but a car is a different matter.

The first act of kindness happened when I asked this neighbour if he thought my car would get stuck in the drifts.  He didn’t think I would get through and offered to drive me to my appointment.  Being on the recipient end of an act of kindness is a really awesome feeling!

The next act of kindness happened when my husband drove me home from my appointment and we got stuck in the drifts at the end of our street.  Two other neighbours, whom we had never met, came up the street and helped dig us out.  Another warm, fuzzy feeling!  Maybe the snow brings out the niceness in people and the need to work together.  Whatever the reason, it is nice to be on both ends of an act of kindness and we should all do our best everyday to help someone.

Have you done something nice today?  If not, why?  Do your small part to make this world a better place:)


Get yourself off your mind

When we think about ourselves constantly, it causes a lot of problems.  If we are thinking about ourselves in a negative way, we will dwell on our imperfections and flaws and spend our time feeling miserable and unhappy.  If we are thinking about ourselves in too high a regard, we will develop an ego that is hard to keep fed and we will have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others.  In both cases, relationships will be very difficult.

Seriously, we have to get ourselves off our minds if we want to be a happy camper and have good relationships.  This means that we have to start thinking about someone else or something else other than ourselves.  This doesn’t mean that you are not important but it does mean that your problems do not define who you are and you will never find happiness until you can stop focusing on yourself.

Research shows that doing good deeds is very beneficial.  It helps us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Helping others actually relieves stress and we can sure use some stress-relief in this stress filled world!  Stress is killing us and we need to start doing something that will help improve our health.

Start reducing your stress by getting yourself off your mind!  Don’t focus on your problems: past, present or future.  It won’t help you!  Focus instead on what you can do to make someone else’s life better and take action.   I did and it certainly improved my life!


Are you selfish or selfless?

Selfishness is the root of so many problems in our lives and in our world today.  We want to have money;  we want nice things; we want to be pampered; we want to have fun; we want to have power; we want to control everyone and everything around us.  It is all about my needs and ME, ME, ME!!!

Some of us realize that we are selfish but many of us aren’t even aware of it because it has become a habit.  We go through every day of our lives believing that we should have everything we want and if we do we will be happy.   WRONG!!  Being selfish will never make us happy except for a very short period of time.  We might be happy when we get that new car, big house or promotion but when the initial excitement dies down, other problems in our lives bring back our unhappiness and discontentment.

Selfishness keeps you focused on yourself and stops you from focusing on others.  If you want to be truly happy, you need to start focusing on other people and finding out what their needs are.   Get your mind off yourself and look around for someone you can help.  Become selfless instead of selfish.

Today think of some ways that you can help other people around you.  Don’t go to bed until you can help at least 1 person every day.  This can be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbour or even a stranger.  Here are some ideas.  Please add some of your own.

  • cook a meal for a neighbour who is ill
  • visit a sick friend
  • babysit for a single mom or busy family (without getting paid)
  • treat someone who is having financial difficulties to coffee or lunch
  • shovel snow or cut grass for an elderly neighbour
  • send a ‘thinking of you’ card to someone who needs some encouragement
  • invite a hurting friend to a church service or small group meeting
  • volunteer at a nursing home
  • give a gift certificate to a co-worker who is struggling
  • fill a Christmas gift basket for a needy family
  • smile and say a friendly hello to everyone you meet
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Nobody cares, just waiting to die

Niagara Canada is home to a large and growing senior population.  Many seniors who have never experienced depression in their lives are developing this illness due to poor health, inability to cope with daily tasks and lack of emotional support.  I often connect with clients who live alone and feel like their lives have no purpose.   Sometimes when I am covering a shift for a housekeeper, a client will talk my ear off because they don’t have anyone else that will listen or they will just sit and stare into thin air until they fall asleep.  My heart breaks for these people who were once so happy and full of life.  They feel like nobody cares and they are just waiting to die.

What causes seniors to slip into depression? For some, their family members and friends live distantly or they have passed away.  Others have family close by, but they are not able to help them due to busyness or lack of interest.   Many seniors have a very active mind but they are confined to their homes because they no longer have the ability to drive or they are too ill to go out.  Their lack of independence gives them lots of time and little to do which is very depressing.

It can be hard to detect depression in a senior because the symptoms can be found in other illnesses.  These can include:

  • lack of energy, tiredness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritable, agitated
  • lack of interest
  • constant worry, fear
  • sleep problems
  • sadness, mood changes
  • physical pain

Depression affects people of all ages and we should always pay attention to the people around us and make sure they are not struggling with excessive feelings of sadness or unworthiness.  Depression is a horrible illness that robs people of having a good life and it also negatively affects their families, friends, the people they work with and anyone else they connect with.  We always need to give our loved ones lots of love and support, especially if they are depressed.

Look around you and see if there is anyone you can lift up with your love today.  Is there a family member that you could pay a visit to?  A friend you haven’t called in a while?  A neighbour who doesn’t come out much?  Connect with them and let them know how special they are!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

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Do you have loving relationships?

Women Celebrating BirthdayEvery day we interact with other people, mainly our families, friends and co-workers.   How often do you stop and consider how well these relationships are going?   Are they loving and caring or are they difficult or challenging?

Many people would probably have trouble defining what a good, loving relationship means because they have never been in a good relationship and they wouldn’t know what to expect.  Here are some ways that you can determine if your relationship is loving or not:

  • unconditional love through all the good and bad situations
  • trust for each other, knowing that neither will take advantage or for granted
  • a mutual caring for each other’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • acceptance of the other person’s imperfections and weaknesses
  • honesty and openness, able to be transparent and vulnerable
  • able to express feelings without fear of being rejected
  • good communication, able to listen and share
  • appreciation of each other’s qualities and abilities
  • learn and grow together
  • share interests and spend time together
  • being sensitive to each other’s needs
  • challenge each other
  • show respect for each other

Do you have loving relationships?  If you are not treating others with love and respect, try to change the way you treat people.  When you show love and kindness to others, it makes you a nicer person and people will want to be in a relationship with you.  If you are not being treated with love and respect, you have to determine if the other person(s) really needs to be in your life and make any necessary changes.  Treating another person with kindness is important but if they are not treating you back with respect, then you probably need to distance yourself from them.  Remember that you are valuable.  Always treat yourself with love and kindness and don’t allow anyone else to treat you any differently.


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Mean Girls-Inspiring Song

We all need to take a stand against bullying. If you see someone being bullied, step in and support them. Remember that you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Standing by and letting things happen is just reinforcing bad behaviour. Always show kindness to others and be a good example.

The Teen Years

I ran across this song by accident, and I think it’s amazing. This happens to so many girls, and people make fun of them if they’re cutters, suicidal, ‘goth’, downers. Nobody ever really questions why, or wonders if they might have a part in it. Please listen and spread this song, it’s very touching and might help someone.

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