My first official day of graduate school is today. I know the first week is generally just a syllabus week, but switching over from the mindset of Cloud Watching 101 to Medical Terminology, Pathology, and Diagnosis is a pretty dramatic shift. To help a little bit, hopefully, I have this ritual I do every year before the school year fully gets underway.
For the past several years, I have given myself a little pep talk on the first day of school. But unlike when I was little or a freshman in college and the talk usually included something along the lines of don’t get lost, don’t trip on the stairs, etc. etc. This pep talk is always more like a New Year’s Eve pep talk. What am I going to try to do better this year?
Instead of focusing on health issues, finding outlets for tranquility, or trying to make the most of a bad situation, this year I really want to focus on being positive and kind towards others. Although there are times that warrant complaints, like being tired after staying up until 5 AM to write a paper that is due the next day. I don’t want to make other people miserable with these complaints.
This year I am going to try to put a positive twist on things, learn to laugh at a lot more than I have over the past couple of years and try to brighten up other people’s day instead of dragging them down.
In my mind, brightening people’s day is sort of like that “butterfly flaps its wings and across the world, a hurricane happens”. If I am kind to others and able to make their day a little better, maybe they will do the same for someone else. Now, these acts of kindness do not have to be giant declarations. It can be something small at first. You never know what small smile or kind word can make a world of difference for someone else.
BE KIND AND POSITIVE TO YOURSELF
This may seem obvious for some of you, but most of the time you are your harshest critic. Instead of caring about yourself and raising yourself up, you are constantly tearing yourself down with negative comments and how you didn’t do something good enough.
Break yourself of this habit immediately!
It is not beneficial to anyone or even healthy for you mentally. Your friends and family notice when you are feeling miserable and it may even bleed off onto them and drag them down as well. All because of something that may not even be true.
You can start this by trying to live more optimistically overall in your day to day life. It will amaze you how much a difference this can make for your overall health as well as the relationships around you.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a thousand different ways that you can get rid of this habit. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to spiral downwards, but if you notice the signs, nip it right in the butt. Change your environment. Play some music. Do something else. Just switch up your pattern and remember to take care of yourself first and foremost because you are important.
BE KIND AND POSITIVE TO A FAMILY MEMBER
This one may seem even more of a given than the last but think back to this past week. Think about your interactions with your family. How often did you actively do something that helped to make each of their days brighter?
Sometimes in the jumble of our day to day life, we forget that our family is filled with those who have been there for us in our darkest times. And sometimes, even if we don’t notice it, they are struggling too and need us to help them in small ways.
Once again this does not mean completely changing up your daily routine, but simple things that help out with their day to day tasks show that you care about the other person. Take out the trash. Feed the dog. Even giving the person a phone call and asking them about their day is a nice surprise that makes both of you feel more connected to one another, cared for, and not so alone.
Over this past summer, anytime I was over at my parent’s house late at night, I would sneak upstairs and fold down their bed before I left. It took me no more than a minute to get their room all set up for them, but it made both of them feel cared for and loved. Which right before bed, is a really great thing.
BE KIND AND POSITIVE TO A FRIEND
Much like family members, friends are there for you whenever you need them but it’s often times difficult to remind each other of this outside of hard times. Simple reminders of this are, in my opinion, one of the sweetest moments of friendship there is.
Drag them out of the office and go out to lunch mid-week.
Take them on a shopping excursion to a small market you discovered.
Listen to how their day was.
Anytime you actively try to spend time with your friends and get them to do something fun shows them that you appreciate who they are and that you want them to be in your life because they make all of these moments better.
And if this friend is your roommate, you can even go one step further and include a lot of the things you would do for a family member into these activities. Trust me when I say if you have a happy roommate, you can’t help but be happier as well.
BE KIND AND POSITIVE TO A STRANGER
Strangers are some of the hardest and easiest people to be positive towards or help with making their day better. Even one simple thing you do may go unappreciated or ignored, but in the grand scheme of their day, it made it less difficult and brighter.
Smiling at people on the street is one of the simplest things. Even if you don’t want to or are having a bad day, a quick smile as you pass someone is always nice and makes the person feel acknowledged and important in a way, even if you drop the smile right afterward.
This stranger doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you just pass. It can also be someone you meet and interact with. Say ‘thank you so much for your help’ to a worker who went above and beyond. Give a generous tip to a waitress who is balancing 20 tables perfectly. As one of these people, when you feel like the good work you are doing is worth something and appreciated by other people, it is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
With each person whose day you make better, you may indirectly help to make someone else’ s day better and so on and so forth. Don’t look down on the little things that you do throughout the day. Think of each moment as a way to make this day better for someone else or even yourself. The more you do this, the more you will start to realize how positivity and good energy begins to follow you around as well and that karma really does pay off.