I can't remember the last time I read the news and was not filled with fear. I have felt this for quite some time now, however in light of the results of last week's election I feel this subject is more important than ever. I am disappointed, I am disgusted, I am distraught, but most of all, I am afraid. Afraid of what's to come, and afraid of what has already come to pass. I've found myself asking if there's anything I can possibly do in the face of hate.
Hate is there all the time, but learning to live in spite of it is no small feat. But changes can start small. Remember that. You may not be able to create tidal waves, but you can start ripples. Any tiny action you take can begin a chain that will work towards creating a more accepting, loving world. Start with these five steps.
1. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Look up and see the gorgeous sky, trees, and flowers. Reminding yourself of the beauty of nature can give you a new perspective on any difficult situation. Ultimately, your happiness and calm will radiate onto others.
2. Give back to your community. Donate to a cause that you believe strongly in, such as cancer research (I strongly recommend donating to Planned Parenthood). Volunteer at an animal shelter, bring cans to a food pantry, give old clothes to Goodwill. You don't need to give a lot, but directly or indirectly helping someone else out can have many positive repercussions.
3. Smile. Whether it's just for yourself or in the direction of someone who could use cheering up, this simple motion can work wonders for how you are feeling. Not only does it help your own emotions, but it is actually infectious. One smile leads to many.
4. Leave a generous tip at a restaurant. If you're financially secure (even if you aren't), sometimes it's nice to leave someone a little something extra for the effort. You never know how you might be helping out - tuition, rent, groceries, etc.
5. Hold a cute animal. I highly recommend puppies, kittens, bunnies, baby goats, hedgehogs - really, any cute animal you can get ahold of. Holding something so warm and lovable can put you in a good mood, regardless of anything else happening at that moment. But don't keep the mood to yourself! Spread the love and happiness.
Times may seem tough, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and a way to learn from the rough situation we are in now. What's your favorite way to find the good?