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Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

baby looking into an empty barn

Take a quick minute and think about how you are feeling today. What mood are you projecting to others around you? Are you projecting happiness/unhappiness, joy/depression, or love/anger?

There were times for me this last year where I was projecting worry, fear and nervousness. The beginning of the year I was trying to focus on positive things in my life. I live on a dairy farm and I knew the end was in sight for the farm. Right before Easter all of our milk cows were sold. Watching everything your family has worked for be sold is heartbreaking to live through. Now we have to find a new normal as we grieve the animals we lost. I would not be honest if I told you I was experiencing joy every day. It’s not uncommon for me to experience sadness, depression, or frustration. How do I find joy in the midst of a storm?

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Douglas Abrams journals the discussion between the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu answering the question: How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? Their discussion provides us with their foundation for lasting happiness known as the eight pillars of joy. The pillars are split into two groups of “mind” pillars and “heart” pillars.

Pillars of the Mind

  1. Perspective- look at situations from different perspectives
  2. Humility- we are a small piece of something bigger
  3. Humor- laughter is the best medicine
  4. Acceptance- accept reality so change may begin

Pillars of the Heart

  1. Forgiveness- end the cycle of retaliation
  2. Gratitude- focus on what is good and right and appreciate the precious moments
  3. Compassion- by focusing on others our own problems seem less important
  4. Generosity- we feel happy when we give

Putting these pillars into practice is extremely difficult and often times easier said than done. What I can tell you is that by keeping these pillars in my mind while I go about my daily life makes the tough times a little more bearable. I have them written down and keep them where I can easily reference them when I need to. It’s helped me to project hope and has brought a smile back to my face.

I encourage you to show compassion to your farming community. There are multiple dairy farms across the United States that are closing their barn doors for the last time. There have been at least four in my own county this year. In Ohio, we’ve had historic rainfall this year and many farmers are finding themselves with flooded fields and little to no crops. The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, And Environmental Sciences are working tirelessly to address the 2019 agricultural challenges. If you, or someone you know needs farm assistance in getting questions answered or is unware of the resources available to them then I encourage you to check out this specific link https://go.osu.edu/agcrisis and/or pass it along. 

Bohlen, A. (2019, February 14). Staying positive in tough times. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/02/14/staying-positive-in-tough-times/

Lama, D., Tutu, D., & Abrams, D. (2016). The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. New York City, NY: Avery Publishing Group.

Stefura, B. (2014, October 13). Don’t let stress get the best of you! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2014/10/13/dont-let-stress-get-the-best-of-you/

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

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I pick “kind”… will you?

I work in Pickaway County, Ohio and the selection for our “One Book, One Community” campaign this year is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I’ve seen the movie twice and now I am enjoying the book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. This book is a touching read that highlights how people respond to and interact with others who are different from them. It may just open your eyes to what others experience in life.

Why are wonder, kindness and compassion the topics of this blog? We interface with many people every day. How we interact with others not only affects our lives and happiness but it affects others. I encourage you to look at the way you respond to people and situations and to react with kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at some definitions of the word “wonder” when it is used as a noun:

  1. From the English Oxford dictionary: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  2. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary a cause of astonishment or admiration.
  3. From the Cambridge dictionary: a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings.

These dictionaries define “wonder” as a positive way to view things we might see or experience in life. In the book and movie Wonder, many people viewed the character Auggie as someone very different from them. His face looked different and he was not used to interacting with kids. He faced these challenges with heart.

I encourage you to look with wonder at people and places and to share kindness with those you meet. If someone is different from you – or unfamiliar to you- embrace the interaction with fresh eyes and be open to their friendship. A simple smile goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Take a moment, pause and treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you have seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you know that this classic film highlights the life of a character named George Bailey. Throughout the movie, George is encouraged to look at the positives in his life and explore how his life touches others in his “everyday” actions. Clarence, another character in the movie, shares this thought: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Movie Marquee - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

Many people watch this movie around the holidays, but I think it is a great movie to watch anytime. It provides a gentle reminder to embrace life and look for positives, even when we are experiencing challenges.

As you pass through your life, will you pick kindness, compassion and wonder? These virtues will enrich your life. If you need tips or strategies to grow compassion, check out the article Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Additionally, the Integrative Medicine department of the OSU Wexner Medical Center offers free heart-centered mindfulness recordings to help foster kindness, compassion and gratitude. These resources, exercises and strategies may help you become a more compassionate person.

If you have a story to share, leave a comment or email me at treber.1@osu.edu.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Jazaieri, H. (2018). Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_compassionate_people

OSU Wexner Medical Center, Department of Integrative Medicine. Heart-Centered Practices. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/integrative-complementary-medicine/heart-centered-practices

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. https://wonderthebook.com/books/wonder

 

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christmas-2411764_1280Recently my extended family went through a time of crisis. My own immediate family was one of many who stepped in to help. The aftermath of this crisis left many of my immediate family members exhausted and/or sick. After about 5 weeks of one type of sickness or another at my house, I remember thinking… “It doesn’t matter to me what our Christmas looks like this year, I just want my kids to be healthy.” I know that feeling of wanting things to get back to “normal.”

Yesterday at every store I encountered there was someone dealing with some sort of crisis: family illness, loved one in the hospital, recent passing of a parent, and even a pet emergency. This time of year when many people are already experiencing more stress than they can handle, an added crisis is sometimes enough to push us to the edge. Having just dealt with crisis, and knowing how much it means to be the recipient of kindness and caring, I tried my best to offer encouragement and positive thoughts with these folks who are dealing with so much.

We may never know what others around us are dealing with. Maybe that impatient person behind you in line is in crisis right now. Maybe that fast driver is trying to see his baby in NICU after a long day at work. What if that weary person next to you is undergoing cancer treatment? What if… a kind word from you can bring a smile? What can you do today to be an encourager and spread some holiday cheer?

Here are some ideas for random acts of holiday kindness:

  1. Give up your spot in line.
  2. Donate money to an organization or charity.
  3. Pay for someone else’s coffee.
  4. Send cards to those in military service
  5. Take a meal to someone who needs it.
  6. Donate food to your food bank.
  7. Donate pet supplies to a shelter.
  8. Help someone with a chore.
  9. Do yard work or shovel for a neighbor.
  10. Donate books you no longer need.
  11. Pick up litter.
  12. Leave a popcorn surprise for strangers to find.
  13. Donate toys to a children’s hospital.
  14. Donate new pajamas for children in foster care.
  15. Feed the birds.

What other ideas can your family come up with? This could be tonight’s dinner topic! When your children see you sharing kindness with others, they will likely adopt this compassionate behavior. In fact, one study showed teens who helped others felt more positive about their own lives. Families can enjoy sharing some holiday kindness together.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by:  Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County.

Source:

American Psychological Association. 2017. “What makes kids care? Teaching gentleness in a violent world.” Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/kids-care.aspx

 

 

 

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