Creating positive change through the power of appreciation
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
With 2021 rapidly approaching, it’s normal to find one’s self reminiscing on the past year, reflecting on the should haves and could haves. We attempt to make pacts with ourselves and others in honor of the new year, whether it be cutting back on one thing, or trying to do more of another. But how often do those promises include being kind to, or showing appreciation for others? In today’s high-demand, fast-paced society, we feel we lose the opportunity to think more about others than for ourselves. This year, make a pact with us to show more appreciation to our three areas of focus; People, Animals and Planet. Read on for ideas on how to make these changes happen within each area.
An area not normally focused on yet deserves the greatest amount of attention: Appreciation for people. Appreciation and gratitude for our planet and animals cannot be made possible without the efforts of people.
Words of Affirmation Positivity shared through words and phrases of affirmation are beneficial for any relationship – intimate, platonic or professional. Often, we forget to share these things with others in our lives because it may feel too awkward, poorly timed or hard to find the right words.
Fortunately, the easiest and smallest step one can take towards this positive direction is as simple as saying “Thank you” more often in your daily conversations. Say "thank you" to the person who held the door for you or to the tired employee serving you your hot and fresh coffee each morning. TheDailyPositive has a great list of ideas to boost your affirmative creativity.
Kind Gestures We’ve said it before, actions do speak louder than words. Kind gestures in the form of physical gifts, a lending hand or simply opening the door for another individual can be surprisingly endearing, even to a stranger. Take the kindness to another level and extend a gesture to someone in need. Donate hand-me-down clothes and household items to a local Goodwill, or time and efforts through a local United Way.
Pay It Forward The Pay It Forward Foundation was established in 2000 with the philosophy that through acts of kindness amongst strangers, we all foster a more caring society. For the last 17 years, individuals have paid it forward one random act of kindness at a time in ways that benefits other people, animals and planet, much like we do here at Regenrus. Keep the change moving forward by starting your path of random acts of kindness today.
All walks of life deserve some amount of appreciation. But how can we show this when verbalizing only carries so far? In this case, actions speak louder than words. Donate time or money to animal shelters. Each year, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters. That’s a lot of mouths to feed and care for on a typically tight budget, being that most if not all animal shelters are non-profit organizations and exist on a donation basis.
Give back to these animals seeking furr-ever homes by donating your time, funds or donated supplies. Shelters are constantly seeking assistance with dog walking, one-on-one socializing or support through extra food thanks to the caring hearts of individuals. Learn more by visiting your local animal shelter’s website.
Respect and support wildlife. To experience wildlife in-person out in a natural habitat is truly beautiful and rare to behold. The urbanization of our environment has greatly reduced a human’s chance to receive such an experience, and one may be unsure of how to react in such a situation. Instead of attempting to interact with the creature, simply take a quiet, still position and admire from afar. If you feel the animal is injured or in danger, contact the local animal control services or ASPCA for assistance with the animal.
No Meat Monday. Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign “which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat-free day each week.” Try with friends or family to eat plant-based meals for at least one meal on Mondays, progressing into an entirely meat-free Monday on your own terms. Eating without meat can be difficult for some, however, there are many delicious and amazing recipes found online.
Our Planet, Mother Earth, deserves perhaps the greatest amount of appreciation, for none of us would exist without her resources. Celebrate Earth Day Founded by former Wisconsin US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day is April 22nd of every year. Citizens from all over the world come together and honor our planet through parades, concerts and environmentally friendly activities that give back to our Earth in some way.
Join in the celebration by planting a tree at your home or in a public area (with permission), or leave the lights off in your home all day. Participate in one of many other ways found here.
Upcycle the Recycling ‘Upcycling’ is the process of transforming our trash or recycling into new materials or products for better environmental value. Your trash now becomes your treasure. This can be anything from turning old t-shirts into reusable grocery bags, pallets into furniture or a myriad of other ideas. The possibilities are endless. Gather a few ideas from UpCycle That, a DIY hub dedicated to empowering the individual on how to upcycle their trash or recyclables.
Plan A Litter Pick-Up Day Turn an outing with friends or family into an opportunity to clean up the litter in your neighborhood or favorite public area. Clearing the litter in your local community, even if it’s a mere 10 pieces a week, greatly reduces the overall detriment litter creates in our water systems, our quality of air and overall vitality of the ecosystem. Take notes from North Texas – based non-profit Reverse Litter, who created the initiative Ten Pieces Tuesday, where North Texans pledge to pick up 10 pieces of litter every Tuesday or at least one day a week on their commute to work or in their local neighborhoods. Every step counts!
We hope you’ll take these tools and resources and begin to incorporate them in your daily life. Even smallest of actions take the greatest of steps. Be that great step today.