Do a good deed, then just move on to the next one


The other day, as I was about to enter a door with my hands full, the person who was walking just steps  in front of me, let the door flap closed in my face. I thought of how easy it would have been for her to simply hold it open for me, or at least hold it, until I was able to free a hand up to take it. That one rude act made me think of ways in which I could be proactive about making life easier for the people I come in contact with on a daily basis. Good deeds do not have to be grand and ceremonious, in fact, even the simplest kind gestures, without fanfare–like turning around when you walk through a door to see if someone is behind you, can bring light to someone else’s whole day.

Marco Aurelio wrote:

One man, when he has done a service to another, is ready to set it down to his account as a favor conferred. Another is not ready to do this, but still in his own mind  he thinks of the man as his debtor, and he knows what he has done. A third in a manner does not even knoww what he has done, but he is like a vine which has produced grapes, and seeks for nothing more after it has once produced its proper fruit. As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for othrs to come and see, bt he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season. (from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius).

When was the last time you did something nice  for someone else , without any expectation of acknowledgement? Try doing something thoughtful today, that makes life just a bit more pleasant for a co-worker, a friend, or someone you notice who is going through tough times. Don’t wait for praise or thank-you’s; just move on and wait for the next opportunity to do a good deed. Your life will become richer and you will start to feel great about the person you are.  Let your life beome a series of simple good deeds, and you will have made the greatest contribution of all to this world.

How Happy Images Can Change Your Life

Simple Pleasures

Marco Aurelio, Roman Emperor and respected philosopher (161AD) said: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts”.  Think about this. Would you rather spend the next hour feeling happy and uplifted, or sad and depressed?  I live by Aurelio’s philosophy, and truly believe that our thoughts determine our happiness, but it took me a while before I could automatically do what cognitive -behavioral psychologists call “thought switching” .  Once you are able to do this, it can make a dramatic difference in your day to day moods.

Let’s face it, we don’t have to look very far to come up with situations that make us feel sad, angry, or frustrated. And while we do need to reflect in order to come up with personal solutions, rumination is a whole other thing. That is , if you keep going over the same troubled thoughts in your mind, and getting nowhere with them, you can let hours, days, and weeks go by feeling down in the dumps.
Here is a great little tip to help you “switch” your thoughts from sad to glad.
1.  Preparation: Think of  several images that make you feel happy and start a scrapbook of these  images. You can use photos from magazines, pictures you took and printed out, or even just write out a short description of  the scene . (Eg, the  light  Italian  supper  table  in this blog post  including a great bottle of wine, a bit of formaggio, a nice bunch of grapes, etc; ).
2. Start to become aware of when you are feeling down or anxious and pinpoint what kind of thoughts are running through your mind.
3. Mentally, hold up a big red STOP sign, which will be your signal to SWITCH your thought to an image  that makes you feel good (one you have  readily available from your scrapbook).
4. Focus now on one of those happy  images and SMILE, whether you feel like smiling or not. Keep the smile going for the next five minues.  Our facial expressions also signal positive  changes in the brain.
In just a few minutes time, you can often create a change in your  thoughts, and therefore your mood . If you do this often enough, your “happy” thoughts will create more happiness in your life.