Do you ever wish you could just wave a magic wand and make all life's stresses go away? Well, I'm not sure these ideas constitute a magic wand, but it's amazing how some pretty basic actions can really make a difference in providing balance and fulfillment in life.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think there's a connection in the fact that April is Stress Awareness Month, Humor Month, Volunteer Month and National Month of Hope. What better way to combat stress than humor, hope and helping others?!
We all experience some stress in our lives from time to time, sometimes more than others! But finding activities to offset the stress is what helps keep us emotionally, mentally and even physically in balance.
“Among those people I like, I can find no common denominator; but among those I love I can say: they all make me laugh.”
What could be eaiser than cracking a joke with friends? Studies have shown that laughing not only relieves tension but also benefits the immune system! It can even ease pain and can certainly improve your mood.
Children have this figured out already. They tend to laugh more than 400 times each day where adults only chuckle an average of 15 times per day. Hardly seems fair to let the kids have all the fun!
Bring laughter into your life every day and put humor to use for you when you need it most. Humor not only helps bolster people's mood, but it also has other benefits:
- Builds a bond between teachers and students
- Gets and holds attention
- Helps to clarify and simplify
- Makes situations more memorable
- Often circumvents problems
And, if all that wasn't compelling enough, there's more: laughter is free, convenient and easy to use! So go ahead, give it a try! Here are some kid-friendly jokes to get you started:
1. What do you call a famous fish? A starfish. 2. Why don’t elephants need suitcases? Because they already have trunks! 3. Knock, knock Who’s there? Orange Orange who? Orange you going to answer the door? 4. What animal always breaks the law? A cheetah. 5. What do you call a pig that knows karate? A pork chop. 6. Why do bananas put on sunscreen before they go to the beach? So they don’t peel. 7. Where do fish save their money? In the river bank. 8. Why did the fisherman put peanut butter into the sea? To go with the jellyfish. 9. Knock, knock Who's there? Interrupting cow. Interrup- MOOO!!!! 10. What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick.
Well, you can't say we didn't try to help! ;) I'm sure your kids have even more to contribute--share your best humorous moments on #NationalHumorMonth. Have fun, and don't forget to laugh!
Mothers In Crisis, Inc. founded National Month of Hope to help spread hope around the world. Founded by Rosalind Tompkins in 1991 when she was just four years clean and sober, Mothers In Crisis, Inc. supports women and families who are in need, bringing them hope and empowering them to find a new path.
Your level of "hopefulness" can have important work and life implications. It can impact how well you lead, how you take care of your health, and how productive you are at work. Being a "hopeful thinker" will help you build your resilience and give you yet another tool for handling stress, change, and adversity.
Hopeful people share four core beliefs (Lopez, 2013):
- The future will be better than the present
- You have a say in how your life unfolds
- There are multiple pathways to achieving personal and professional goals
- There will be obstacles
As the saying goes, "where there's a will, there's a way." Hope is a process of setting goals, believing we can achieve them, and then finding ways to make them happen. Sure, that sounds easy enough, right? But, we all need a little support from time to time. Bring a little hope and sunshine into everyone's life everyday!
Beliefnet suggests 8 ways to increase hope:
- Be kind to yourself
- Create a daily 5-minute silence ritual
- Curtail your intake of news
- Treat each day like a precious gift
- Take a break
- Express love tangibly
- Begin each day with an affirmation
- Make a difference
Watch this video as Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey discuss the need for hope.
Use #NationalHopeMonth to share your hope on social media!
April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H. W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign in 1991. You don't need to be retired or have oodles of time available every day to volunteer. Opportunities to help come in many forms--just find something that's meaningful to you and look for ways to support those efforts. If you can't volunteer, you can always offer support to other volunteers--they will appreciate your concern!
There are so many ways to give of yourself and your efforts will pay off not only to the recipients, but to you as well! Volunteering helps you focus on your positive qualities and can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Giving to others also improves your sense of self-worth and gives your life a sense of purpose.
Psychology Today offers more reasons to consider volunteering:
- Volunteers live longer and are healthier
- Volunteering establishes strong relationships
- Volunteering is good for your career
- Volunteering is good for society
Here are some suggestions to get started:
- Volunteer by reading to children in schools
- Give of time, food, and money to help families in need
- Minister to those incarcerated by writing letters and visiting
- Visit your local animal shelter and bring donations of pet food
- Share your story of overcoming adversity with those who are going through hard times
- Lend a helping hand to those in need
- Clean up areas where there is trash such as parks and beaches
- Spend a day with the homeless, whether on the streets, in shelters, etc.
You can even support your favorite cause through everyday purchases. Try organizations like GreaterGood, AmazonSmile and many others, which will donate to the charity of your choice for every dollar you spend on their site.
Use #NationalVolunteerMonth to share your experience on social media!
How to Find the Ideal Place to Volunteer
Corporation for National and Community Service