Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feeling Poor? Give Something Away.

It's nearly a new year, and it's going to be a challenging one on a personal, societal and global basis. With all the news about economic gloom and doom and the resulting increases in poverty and crisis (some of it repeated on this blog!), it was great to come across this article by Gretchen Rubin. "How To Make Yourself Happier During the Economic Crisis" offers some simple actions for reducing the feelings of anxiety and powerlessness that a lot of people are feeling, and through these actions, you can start to have an impact on poverty and other issues in your community.

Rubin offers this simple concept:
"although we assume that we act because of the way we feel, often we feel because of the way we act.... If you don't like the way you're feeling, take action in the opposite direction...If you're feeling poor, give something away. If you're feeling powerless, take control of something."
Rubin says that when we think about helping those living in poverty (for example), we usually think about donating money or time (volunteering). If we think "I can't afford to give money" or "I just don't have time to volunteer," your feelings of anxiety and powerlessness increases. If you find some way to give, however, you'll find that you can afford to donate and that you do have enough time to help, and you'll realize that you can have an impact on the problems that are keeping you up at night. It doesn't have to be a big check or a big effort; just something small, intentional, and constant. Empty your change jar each month and donate the money. Give blood. Become an organ donor. Whatever you can, but do it regularly and with purpose.

Simple stuff, right? Pretty obvious? But if you're like me, you may find yourself focused on the negative a lot, reading the papers too deeply and thinking "there's nothing I can do about all the terrible things going on in the world." If you feel this way, act the opposite. Change the way you feel through simple action. It will make you happier, and improve the lives of others.

From everyone here at the Community Voice Mail National Office, and on behalf of the 46 CVM sites around the country, we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe 2009.

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