Happy New Year Wilton! We’re now five days into the New Year and I’m curious how many of us made resolutions and have already broken them.
Quite often, it seems as we focus our resolutions on improving our bodies – dieting, exercising and smoking cessation. While improving our health is certainly important, I would say that keeping our souls healthy is equally important. Compassion, kindness and courage are all emotions we need to exercise on a regular basis. Throughout the year there have been numerous stories reported here about inspirational acts of kindness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we heard no stories of bullying, racism or abuse this year? While that’s unlikely, we can all flex our “spiritual muscle” to grow as individuals and as a community of caring people.
Here are seven resolutions that will help strengthen your soul:
Get to know your neighbors.
While some of the neighborhoods in Wilton are close-knit, there are many areas where the homes are a good distance apart and neighbors don’t even know each other. I know the neighbors right next to me, but I must admit that I’ve never met the people who live two or three homes down. There are elderly people in our community who might not have friends or relatives nearby. A friendly face and a neighborly visit occasionally could brighten a person’s day dramatically.
There are so many great non-profit organizations here in Wilton that would be grateful for assistance. Volunteerism doesn’t just benefit the recipient but will make you feel emotionally fulfilled. There have been numerous organizations featured here on GOOD Morning Wilton including Circle of Care, CERT, Wilton Education Foundation, Wilton Youth Council, Ambler Farm, ABC of Wilton, Person-to-Person… the list is endless.
Did you know that doctors consider anger a heart disease risk factor? According to studies published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, anger and hostility are significantly associated with more heart problems in initially healthy people, as well as a worse outcome for patients already diagnosed with heart disease. Holding a grudge doesn’t hurt anyone but you and certainly won’t change the situation.
Acknowledge, admit and apologize.
The other side of the coin is to look at things you’ve done or said that nag at you. It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong but our bodies often know what our minds allow us to deny. If you get a tight feeling in your throat or a flutter in your gut when you think of a disagreement you’ve had with someone, acknowledge what your soul is telling you, admit you might have been in the wrong and then apologize.
Practice at least one random act of kindness per day.
Grand gestures aren’t required – simply giving a parking space to another person, acknowledging the hard work of a store clerk or even leaving a note on a stranger’s car saying, “Have a nice day!” will change how you and they feel. Just last month, I wrote about the sweep of small, random acts of kindness that overtook Wilton. It was a phenomenon that brought a bit of magic to town.
People often tell me they’ve tried meditation but “can’t do it.” They assume it requires sitting motionless for 30 minutes. While that’s great if you can do it, simply starting with 5 minutes in the morning before you get out of bed can make a tremendous difference. Numerous studies have proven that meditation improves mental focus, reduces stress and improves your immune system. For some great free resources to get you started visit Deepak Chopra’s site. You can even find guided meditation with local teachers like Matan Cohen-Citron or at Forza 5, a local business that relocated from Georgetown to Cannondale Village.
Face your fear.
Fear comes in many forms besides how we understand it – jealousy, anger and intolerance of others to name a few. They are all based on our fear of change. For a long time I was “paralyzed with fear” like so many other people. I finally realized that usually change will happen whether we like it or not and it’s impossible to know what that change will bring so I might as well stop agonizing over it and live for today. This is the basis of my coaching practice with women. Once you conquer your fears you’ll start experiencing true happiness and living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Wilton resident Alison Jacobson is a motivational speaker and life coach who works with women to break through their fears to rediscover their passion and live a confident, fulfilling and successful life. You can find out more at her website, alisonjacobson.net.