May 16, 2012

10 Things That Would Make Our World a Healthier Place

Well, this wasn't what I had in
mind, but the point is well made.
This morning, as I drove into work, I thought about the simple things that would make my (our) little existence on this earth more pleasant, happy, warm, connected, and above all, healthy...here is what I came up with.

The world would be a healthier place if...

One
People would put out their cigarettes in their car without having to pollute the street with their smouldering butts.

...do I need to elaborate?

Two
Everyone would hold the door for each other and acknowledge this small act of kindness with "thank yous" and "your welcomes".

I believe that general politeness motivates others to be polite. "Pleases" and "thank yous" go a long way and can really make a difference in someone's day. Are manners dead or are they just in hibernation? Will they make a comeback or has this generation of parenting removed all hope?

Three
People would respect all life and not go out of their way to harm any of it (and yes, for me, that means spiders).

I live in a neighbourhood where more often than not, you see a dog out in the backyard all day and night. I knew a man once who thought it was fun to watch his kids pick up crabs and throw them into the air. Crabs, dogs, cats, snakes...they are all living creatures and all deserve respect and care (physical and emotional). I have been told my opinion is just a result of living in the city too long (by a few that have been living in the country too long)...but I still don't understand why someone would delight in shooting an animal for sport or provide an animal food, water, and shelter without love and kindness. I never will.

Four
People complimented each other more. Just a "your hair looks nice today" or a "that shirt suits you" would suffice.

You never realize just how you have made someone's day by giving them a compliment. How long has it been since you told your lova he/she is awesome, sexy, smart, attractive, and you love them a ton?....(of course, this doesn't pertain to those ready to chuck 'em) I am guilty of thinking good things in my head and not saying them BUT I do let my co-workers, man-friend, and strangers on the street know more than I did....it's a work in progress.

The one important factor of a good, thoughtful compliment is it must be sincere and meaningful to the recipient.

Five
People dropped the jealousy or social comparisons.

I managed to drop the jealousy thing years ago, but I do compare myself to others quite often...and it's exhausting. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter and even LinkedIn, now I'm able to do it 24/7. Social comparisons can make you sad and that ain't good for your health. I'm listening to Dennis Leary's audio book "Why We Suck" at the moment (I am in love with his no nonsense, politically incorrect, view of the world and our society). He has it right...focus on your own strengths (whatever they are) 'cause we all can't be rich, famous, pretty, thin, and fashionably dressed living in a mansion full of nice things.

Six
People would respect each other (especially in a public space). Being aware of the needs of others is an important part of being socially healthy.

Barking dogs after midnight, talking loudly in the movies, smoking in a non-smoking area, or even wearing heavy perfume or an airplane or in a workplace; all come from a place of thoughtlessness. You may think I'm being harsh, but once we let go of our concern for others, we will experience a whole new kind of society (and that ain't no society I want to live in).

Look at that, a compliment wrapped
up in a suggestion. Pretty tricky.
Seven
People listened more than they talked. We can all learn from others no matter where they come from or their position in the world.

More and more I'm meeting and talking with people who talk way more than they listen. I once spent an entire dinner with someone who talked about themselves the entire time (from start to finish...no word of an exaggeration). One positive thing that has come from this is my ability to listen (and listen openly and willingly). Being able to listen to others' opinions, suggestions, and stories without adding your own is a skill (and one that comes in handy if you want to make an impact or change). Even those people that drive me crazy (and there are a few), I am trying to see a learning experience in each and an opportunity to practice the skill of being present (I'm not saying I'm great at it...just that I'm practicing).

Eight
People asked themselves what they could do for others and not the other way around.

Again, something I'm working on, but I tend to see more of an "it's not fair..what about me" attitude than a "what can I do for you" one. Is this the product of our "you deserve the best" generation? Doesn't the Law of Attraction suggest that what you give is what you get? Even if you don't get the $20 you gave to charity back, you get the benefits of a strengthened immune system and a feeling you can't buy for $20.

Nine
People practiced more empathy, patience, and understanding with themselves and others.

We will never be perfect. We will never have (or maintain) the perfect skin, body, hair, or overall sense of enlightened happiness. So why do we strive for it? We all need to practice more patience and understanding with ourselves before we can apply it to others. It's a fact that those traits we cannot stand in others, are the same ones we hold within ourselves.  It's interesting that I have such a....."strong distaste" for my man friend's ex when she truly reminds me of who I was only ten years ago. Something I don't want to acknowledge in myself. Harsh..but true.

Ten
The world would be a better place if we all could just say "hello" or "good morning" to each other.

I wrote an entire magazine article about the power of "hello". Greeting someone, acknowledging someone, just smiling at someone can make a huge difference in that person's day. We do not know the power we have in just saying hello. Sometimes I can walk into my office in the morning without so much as a greeting. Of course, my AA has to say hello (that's what she's paid for......not really...but sorta) but the others can go without saying a word. I'll be honest, it doesn't make me feel good.  Seriously, this would kill me. If someone walked into a room, I saw them, and I withheld a greeting I would start to vibrate and sweat until a "hello" spurted from my pursed, white lips. It's important stuff...and it is something we ALL can do now.

I hope I haven't come across as an old fashioned, pretencious snot who wants to continue to live in the 50's (important note: I wasn't born yet in case you were wondering). I do value manners, respect for others, honesty, and the graces of the old days. I'm hoping I don't become one of those crotchety old farts who laments about the "days of olde"...but I'm sure I can't avoid it.

What does it have to do with Real Life Health? Absolutely everything. When people feel valued, respected, acknowledged they feel present and connected. With all good feelings the physiology will follow. Blood pressures changes, heart rate is reduced, happy hormones circulate, immune system is strengthened.....and all is good in the world. Don't want to workout? Eating donuts all day? Who cares...you practice the above and you will be healthier than that self-centered, narcississt who has the carrot hanging out of her mouth as she is running the marathon (although we all know that you shouldn't run with a carrot in your mouth...but you get the idea). It's a promise.

K

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