Can you believe it’s time to bring a close to 2012 and ring in 2013? It seems like only yesterday we were setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions for 2012. I have to admit this holiday season has been one of the most stressful and I welcome the official close of the year as we ring in the New Year. 2012 saw its fair share of devastating storms, senseless shootings, and celebrity deaths, Whitney Houston, Phyllis Diller, Larry Hagman, Andy Griffith, Neil Armstrong, and Dick Clark to name a few.
A New Year’s Resolution of losing weight, exercising, or to stop smoking are all great—but, have we kept those well intended resolutions made after a holiday season of overindulging in comfort foods, endless parties, and shopping? I searched my brain for the perfect New Year’s Resolution until my head hurt, and as I looked up to see my dog Skyler staring at me—it was like eureka! It came to me my 2013 New Year’s Resolution would be, to be more like my dog.
It doesn’t matter if I run a quick errand or take a weeks’ vacation, on my return Skyler greets me with the same enthusiasm. If I step on her paw or hurt her feelings she accepts an apology and quickly moves on. When I bake treats for her she stands patiently by the stove while they bake as if I were creating a masterpiece or the cure for boredom. A ride through the subdivision with her head hanging out of the window with her ears flopping in the wind is like an exotic vacation. WOW, how a dog reacts with such excitement to seemingly insignificant acts of friendship and kindness—no expectations, no conditions, just tail wagging fun. In return I have her friendship and love, she notifies me when the mail runs, warns me of nearby cows on our drives, and seemingly knows when I need a friend.
What if our 2013 New Year’s Resolution is to simply do random acts of kindness? Imagine our actions kind in nature, no expectations or motives, simply just an act of kindness. If we made altruism and giving part of our everyday life, helping a neighbor, buying a cup of coffee for a stranger, or simply volunteering our time and skills to someone in need. Researcher Stephen Post believes you get more health benefits by helping others than you would by smoking cessation or exercising. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn, found people who spend money on others have greater happiness than those who spend it on themselves.
Can you imagine how life would be if we approached family and friends like our dogs, and what a difference this tail wagging attitude would make in our personal relationships? How do you feel when someone does something kind for you, now think how you feel when you do something kind for someone else.
My 2013 New Year’s Resolution is going to be more like Skyler and to give random acts of kindness. Let’s try it together and see if our new year is not filled with more joy, happiness, health, and fun!
Howard Baker, RN BSN
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