Instead of asking ourselves what is wrong with the world, maybe we should ask ourselves what is right? Progress only comes from forward movement…not retroactive blaming. We, as humans, cast a vote for what is right, or what is wrong, each day, with our actions. Sometimes they are for the better, and sometimes they are for the worse. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that “I’m only one person”, or “I can’t change the world”, but we forget that we do change the world, our world, with every moment we’re alive. It is up to you to change it in a good way, in a positive way. How, you may ask? With small little changes in your everyday behavior.
1. Smile. Sometimes just smiling at someone can change the world. Maybe that person was having a really bad day and a smile from a stranger made it better. Maybe you are the only person who has smiled at that person in a long time. Don’t you feel better when someone smiles at you? Share the smile.
2. Bring reusable bags, cups, dishes, etc. If you travel a lot and know that you’ll be eating a meal, on the road, bring your own silverware. Do you like eating with plastic silverware? Most people don’t. You can find high-grade plastic, bamboo, or metal silverware to reuse and usually, have a sink in a bathroom where you can rinse it off or wash it. Bags. That’s just obvious. Some big cities are actually making plastic bags illegal, so just start the habit and bring your own. Dishes. If you’re a lady and you carry a big purse, why not throw a container in there for leftovers. It’ll help you save money, save calories, and save the world.
3. Listen to music for the sake of music. Take one song, once per day, and just listen. We often have music as background noise, but it is art, so we should appreciate it more. Do you have a favorite song or two? Play them while you really enjoy them. Breathing deeply, listening, and noticing how it makes you feel. If you’re having a bad day, I guarantee that this will improve it.
4. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself. This may seem superficial, and maybe it is, in a sense. But we also live in a superficial world; one where we judge ourselves all the time, mostly negatively (especially us women). Taking the time to really look at yourself, appreciate yourself, and affirming that love will make you a better person. Do it. Say it. Right now. I LOVE YOU.
5. Walk/ride wherever you can. This is a hard one. We’re always so busy and it takes SO much more time to walk or bike ride to the store, the bar, the mall…but in the long run, think of the benefits. You’re burning calories. You’re helping the environment. You’re saving money. Do it. If it takes less than 10 minutes in a car, you don’t need a car to get there.
6. Pay it forward. You don’t have to do this every day, but the more the merrier. If you get a coffee every day, from the same place, how about once a week, you buy the person behind you a coffee? If you want to fund something you believe in, check out Kickstarter. If you have a young relative, give them a dollar. If you have a college-aged relative, give them $20. You’d be amazed at how little you notice those few dollars, and how much they notice those few dollars.
7. Say thank you. When I finish my yoga practice, I end my savasana by saying “thank you, thank you, thank you”. Sometimes I am thanking myself for getting on my mat. Sometimes I’m thinking my teacher for providing us with a class. Sometimes I’m thanking the universe for allowing me to breathe. Every time, I’m just being grateful. With Thanksgiving coming up, we’re told to focus on what we are grateful for….but don’t neglect gratuity throughout the year. Make it a point to be grateful for all that you have, each and every day. Say thank you to your co-workers, your boss, your mom/dad/kids, your dog, your yoga teacher, and yourself.
8. Read the news. I know a lot of news is sad or infuriating, but it is still news. Being aware of what is going on is important to help heal the world. We can not change what we do not know about. On the other side of the coin, we can’t put all of our energy into being mad/upset about things that we can not directly change. Awareness helps. Action helps. If you care about it, share it.
9. Eat and be grateful. Eating is essential to health, so eat with your health in mind. Many of us eat too little or too much. Few of us each “just right”. Strive for eating just right. Ask for smaller portions if you eat too much. Try eating a bit more healthy food if you eat too little. Remember that when you eat, eat with intent. Be grateful for your food. Appreciate the work that went in to your food. Try to support local farmers and artisans. Try to support your body with healthy foods. If you can’t, all the time, be grateful anyways, as there are those out there who don’t have access to food.
10. Watch this film (it’s free!) and share it with anyone who doubts that love can really save the world.