The lead-up to the presidential election and the aftermath have been stressful for most Americans, regardless of which political party you support. It is easy to get wrapped up in the uncertainty of change, and the negativity of people arguing with one another. However, stress and anxiety are not good for your brain. Instead of getting stressed, use this time to remind yourself about all that is good. One of the best things you can do when you feel a loss of control is to do something you can control that is a positive experience. Choosing an activity that fills your heart with joy is key. I have found one of the best ways to make this happen is to volunteer or perform an act of kindness for another. Try one of the ideas below or let the list inspire an idea of your own.
- Read books to children at a school or be their buddy and let them practice reading to you.
- Volunteer at the animal shelter to pet cats or play with dogs.
- Volunteer at a Children’s Hospital to play with kids so their parents can take a break.
- Bake cookies or bread and deliver to a fire station, nursing home, or homeless shelter.
- Deliver a tray of coffees to your favorite nurses or doctors.
- Clean up a trail, beach, or school yard.
- Play games with residents at a nursing home.
- Go to a family shelter and read to a child or play a game with them. If possible, leave the game or book behind for them to use again. Goodwill is a great place to get very inexpensive games and books.
- Put away carts at a grocery store.
- Write a letter to a friend you haven’t contacted in ages.
- Sort through your clothes or books and donate the ones you are done with.
- Give blood at your local blood bank. They are always in need!
- Contact your church and see if they have anything they need help with or know of members who could use a hand.
- Volunteer to help watch kids during a Bible study for new moms.
- Collect all your hotel sized bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, etc and deliver to a homeless shelter.
Please share how you are spreading joy at #Joy4BrainHealth.
We look forward to seeing pictures and hearing about your adventures.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD