Gabi, my miniature poodle and canine companion, turned 13 years old this week. She has lived with me for the past 12-1/2 years. In that period I can’t remember a day in which she didn’t bring a smile to my face or make me laugh out loud.
Also, in the course of our three daily walks, I have met hundreds of people that I never would have encountered otherwise. Some came in and out of my life like raindrops, but many have remained and become a part of my life.
Celebrating her birthday is personal for me and isn’t going to help anyone to lose any pounds or inches. However, a pet can play an important part in one’s happiness. Check out the post – Owning a pet can benefit your mental and physical health.
Although she is a part of my life now, I didn’t have a dog for over 50 years. My brother and I had a dog when I was around 10 years old, but it wasn’t long before he became my father’s dog. You can read about how Gabi came into my life in the post – Anatomy of an act of kindness.
Recent pic of my bike riding companion.
Thanks to my friends on Facebook who created the birthday illustrations above.
Nice to see ALL these benefits that accrue from a single act of kindness. If you would like to read further, I have posted a number of times on the subject: Healthy Snacking as an Act of Kindness
Anatomy of an Act of Kindness
Can You Practice Random Acts of Kindness?
5 Reasons if Pays to be Kind – Infographic
Our Better Health
By: Diane M. November 16, 2015 Follow Diane at @DianeMacEachern
Being nice or kind is often touted as a way to do something good for someone else. But in addition to helping others, being kind turns out to be just as good for the person extending the kindness as for the person receiving it, if not more so. Here are 7 surprising ways being kind is so good for you, it makes you healthier!
1) Being kind increases your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Dr. Stephen Post of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love says being kind generates a side effect he calls “the giver’s glow.” One of the top five factors contributing to lower depression rates is “giving to neighbors and communities,” according to a study conducted in Great Britain, reports the Denver Post. Don’t believe it? Try it yourself. See if you…
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I liked this infographic because it reminds me that being kind is beneficial to ME. We often fail to realize that being kind is a wonderful two way street in which both of us benefit. Not only the recipient of my kindness, but me, too.
I love posting Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker’s tips on aging, health and beauty because at the age of 78 and looking as amazing as she does, she clearly knows whereof she speaks. For that reason I was thrilled to discover Regina’s Life Lessons, 45 Life Lessons written by 90-year-old Regina Brett. I share them with you below, but first, you need to know that Regina Brett is not 90 years old although she has the wisdom of a sage. She closer to 50 years old and writes a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the largest paper in Ohio and 16th largest in the U.S. with a circulation exceeding 300,000.
In her words, “The Internet aged me. The day before I turned 45, I wrote a column of the 45 Lessons Life Taught Me. I added five more lessons when I turned 50. My Life Lessons ended up e-mailed around the world. Only someone changed my age on an email to read: ‘Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old.’ Then someone attached a picture of lovely old lady to the email. No, that dear senior citizen isn’t me.”
She has written books and columns and is available as a public speaker. You can find out more about her at her website. Right now, simply savor her life lessons. They are a wonderful guide to healthy living and aging.
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good..
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15.. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words :’In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life..
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
I got into Bob Dylan in the mid-60’s which seems fortuitous as he was writing what I consider his best stuff then. It’s hard to believe this stripling of a kid could pen Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin’ while still in his 20’s.
My first wife was due to give birth to our son at that time. She loved listening to Dylan, so I bought her a couple of his albums to enjoy while home doing newborn duties. Over the course of that year Mr. Tambourine man sang many songs to me. His raspy voice spilling out vivid words and images introduced me to this incredible poet/troubadour and I became a fan, too. (Yet another example of doing something for someone else and gaining from it yourself. See the kindness tags at right.)
The is the cover of Dylan’s 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’
For some reason on a recent bike ride some of his words popped into my head and decided not to leave. As I pedaled along the lakefront He not busy being born is busy dying ran through my mind, over and over. The lyrics are from the 1965 hit It’s Alright, Ma, I’m Only Bleeding. President Jimmy Carter liked that “Being born…” line so much he used it in his Inauguration speech. Global warming guru Al Gore said it was his most favorite quotation.
I have suggested practicing random acts of kindness as one of the techniques of being a happy person. To the extent a person is eating to assuage feelings of unhappiness, this can also help with weight control. Here is a non-random act pointed specifically at yourself.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation suggested that the next time you feel hungry from a snack to skip the soda, chips or candy and eat a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, granola bar or some veggies which, not incidentally, also have fewer calories than junk foods. This is a simple way to be kind to your body. It’s also a great way to get the energy you need to pay full attention at school and work or enjoy yourself in other activities outside. Be kind to your body and eat healthy snacks.
Some of the benefits of healthy snacking include keeping your energy levels even. The refined sugar in junk foods leads to a false feeling of more energy, or sugar rush. The downside of this is a crash when it wears off. Instead, eating healthy snacks keeps you productive and happy all day and more available to help others.
Happy people live longer according to Time Magazine and others.
Following is an excerpt from that blog item from November:
Jennifer Horton wrote in Discovery Fit & Health when combined with other indicators of longevity, happiness can have an even more pronounced effect. In a test of 50 variables thought to have an effect on a person’s lifespan, satisfaction ranked as one of the strongest predictors, right up there with expected indicators like genetics, intelligence, socioeconomic status, tobacco use and overall health. Coupled with one or more of these other factors, the tests indicated that happiness adds a total of 16 years to the life of a man and 23 years to the life of a woman.
Here is a picture from the Random Acts of Kindness site:
If one picture is worth a thousand words, consider the above another 10,000 words on the subject.
Back in the beginning of the year I wrote a couple of blog items on kindness. Both were directed toward increasing one’s capacity for and experience of happiness. I posted links to them at the bottom of this piece.
I thought this item might be interesting and useful to you pretty much on a similar premise. The kicker is that this act was one of treachery and unkindness and I was the recipient as opposed to the creator of it. I hope you will find the outcome of interest.
At the beginning of my career I worked for men’s magazines. They were the kind considered sexy at the time, but by current internet standards they would be described as quaint or curious at best. At the time I was married and my first wife was pregnant with our son.
The tool of my trade
It was a small publishing house with about 30 people working in editorial, art, production, sales and distribution. We produced several trade magazines on other subjects, too.
Our publisher, Felix, (not his real name), was in his late 50’s and from time to time would take advantage of attractive females who worked for him. This was long before such things as sexual harassment suits so Felix operated with relative impunity. He also possessed a personality on the unpleasant side and consequently had few friends, so he would often have office lunches and hold court over us throughout. He paid for the meal, but we paid more heavily in terms of our personal experiences.
Ginny was an attractive woman who edited one of his trade magazines. Ginny and I became friends and conspired with another of the writers to often leave for lunch early to avoid Felix’s lunches.
I started this year encouraging Random Acts of Kindness as a super stepping off point toward being a happy person. I have seen over the period of writing this blog how many people abuse their bodies with food in their efforts to assuage real or imagined feelings of insecurity or as a misdirected way of dealing with stress. If they were happier at the outset, maybe they wouldn’t have a weight problem at all. The tags at the right with stress, happiness and relaxation will direct you to further items on these subjects.
Getting back to the act of kindness being dissected. I want to explain it from start to finish as I think there is some valuable information in it.
Gabi at 3 months chewing a ball …
It started some years ago when my ex-wife got a puppy for Kate, my daughter. Kate was 11 years old at the time. She had been lobbying for a puppy almost since she began talking. We never got her one when I was married because neither my wife nor I wanted the hassle of owning a dog.
My personal feeling about dogs was the ‘grandparents’ one. You know, I am happy to play with these darling grandchildren, but I want them to go home with their parents when I am finished. That’s how I felt about dogs. I could enjoy playing with your dog, but I was happy to see him leave with you.
Following the divorce, my daughter continued her efforts to change her mother’s mind. Finally, after she remarried and had a house and a yard, the excuses ran out. They got Gabi, a poodle pup, in early 2006. My daughter was thrilled to have her new dog.
The trouble started almost immediately. Every time I called, I heard a new horror story about Gabi’s wildness (she was a puppy). Gabi got into the laundry basket and chewed up their underwear. Gabi got a hold of the toilet paper and chewed up the roll and there was toilet paper all over the bathroom. They had to close the doors of various rooms to protect their contents from Gabi.
I had met the puppy, of course, and she seemed a little wild and was also cute as could be. Pretty much par for the course for a puppy. I thought she had time to grow out of it. I enjoyed playing with her on visits. I was also happy to leave her there when I was finished. I didn’t have a dog, nor did I want one. I had one as a child that ended up being my father’s dog after my brother and I grew up. That was the last dog I owned. It was over 50 years ago.
One of the little techniques of being a happy person is to practice random acts of kindness. This is a wonderful way of spreading good cheer and making someone else feel good.
Here are some examples from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
I thought this would be a really good way to start the new year.