Change, as you know, can take time. It takes practice to un-learn things, to relearn things, to work at finding the path and staying on it until the changes come. The journey can be a long one.
Sometimes, though, you just want to feel a little something right now. Long-term sustainable change is awesome, but every once in a while there’s nothing wrong with making a little mid-course correction that you can feel right away. Here are three things you can do that will help right now.
Give a call. Everyone, I mean everyone, has a call they can make to someone who could use it. A friend, a parent, a coworker – someone could really use a call from you that simply says, “I was thinking about you. How are you doing?” The trick here is to not expect anything in return. Call with the simple goal of listening and caring. Truly listen. Truly care. The rest will follow.
Lend a hand. Unexpected help lifts the mood on both sides of the equation. Carry a grocery bag. Open a door. Take a minute to find a volunteer effort that could use your help. Write a check to a charity and mail it. Donate online to a friend’s fundraising walk. It should be pretty easy to find an opportunity.
Drop some praise. Your yard looks amazing.” “Your smile always brightens my day.” Just say something positive to someone. If you’re the shy type, push yourself a little. Or, leave a note for the restaurant manager to talk about the great service someone gave. Write a letter to someone you admire. The way you do it doesn’t matter. The fact that you give appreciation and praise without any expectation of return is what counts.
It’s like everything else – nothing has to be boring or worthless or stupid, if we choose to engage in it to the peak of our abilities. Find yourself there, give of yourself and watch your mood change for the better.
Jeff Guardalabene is a psychologist at Pacific’s counseling center on Cedar Street.