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smilies-1607163_1920The best things in life really are free.  It doesn’t cost a dime to be kind, to be patient, or to be positive. As we go through our days in a rush, it is easy to see the negative in situations. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, research shows that having a positive outlook can benefit your physical and emotional wellness.

Be patient with yourself and with others. According to a study by Gardner, Lally, and Wardle, it can take up to ten weeks to build a new habit. Their research shows that you can build a habit, by teaching yourself to do an action after a stimulus, just like washing your hands after using the restroom. They suggest the following template for changing behavior.

A tool for patients to make a new healthy habit

  1. Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
  2. Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis.
  3. Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
  4. Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
  5. It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.
  6. Congratulations, you’ve made a healthy habit!

For example:

  • My goal is to stay positive while I am shopping.
  • My plan is to remain calm while shopping during this hectic season.
  • In the aisles and lines, I will smile and speak nicely to those I encounter.

How can you become more patient, show more forgiveness, and become more kind?  You can build a habit of a more positive outlook by practicing often. By practicing, you will begin to build a more positive mindset.  Here are some ideas for you to try:peru-641632_640

  • Take time each day for small, simple pleasures.
  • Hold the door, give up your seat or let someone go in front of you.
  • Send someone a note of ‘thanks.’
  • Compliment someone (a stranger, a co-worker, your child, your spouse, a family member).
  • Wait your turn. Don’t shove.  Just take a deep breath and wait.
  • Smile at those you see in the store aisles or in that very long line at the register.
  • Help someone with a small task.
  • Pick up litter when you see it.
  • Shovel someone’s drive or scrape the ice from someone’s windows.
  • Stand up for injustice. Speak out.
  • Visit the elderly (a neighbor or a nursing home).  Ask them to share some memories with you.
  • Hug someone.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel better about yourself.
  • Build a “positive” display in your home or office.  Items should include memories and accomplishments that help you remember happy times.

Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to take a deep breath and stay kind.  Like Ghandi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences, Washington County

Sources:

Ohio Department of Education https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/News/Know!-To-Practice-Kindness

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Workforce Management Office http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/workplace/EffectivePresentation_Handout_2.pdf 

National Institutes of health, US Dept. of health and Human Services https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

Gardner, B., Lally, P., & Wardle, J. (2012). Making health habitual: the psychology of “habit-formation” and general practice. The British Journal of General Practice62(605), 664–666. http://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp12X659466; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/mahatma_gandhi_109075

Photo Credits:

https://pixabay.com/en/smilies-emoticons-especially-1607163/ 

https://pixabay.com/en/peru-travel-people-kindness-641632/ 

 

 

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