So I woke up this morning and said "It's time for more articles!" But where to begin? What ground to cover next? Then I thought of something from my past, well a lot of things really, and it made me think about myself and those around me. The same thought that always comes into my head was knocking on my door: We could all stand to be a lot better, to each other and to ourselves. So here are some ideas on how to be a better person.
1. Smile More
By now you should notice that my lists seem to combine obvious and not-so-obvious points, usually explained in different perceptions. Here's some of the former. You should smile more often. There have been numerous studies stating that simply smiling has a number of effects on us. It boosts creativity, retrains your brain to produce positive thoughts (versus our brains' inherent production of negative ones), reduces stress, and can literally make you a happier person. Not to mention smiles are contagious, so it's a win-win.
2. Check On Those Around You
I can't tell you how many times I've been going through a rough patch in my life, and have felt just a tiny bit better when someone has asked me how I'm doing. More often than not I'm too proud to legitimately open up, but just the basic fact that a fellow human being is checking up on you seems to boost one's spirits. Say you ask 5 people a day how they're doing, and say only 1 of those people genuinely opens up to you. Well that's 4 people you perked up, and 1 person you might have helped do a complete turn-around in their mood. What's it going to cost you? Only a few minutes of your time.
3. Drink More Water
You'd be surprised how many people seem to abstain from drinking water throughout their day, it's insane. Water (besides being a basic necessity for us) is something you should drink periodically through your day, doing so helps keep you at peak performance and prevents dehydration. Most people actually live their day to day lives suffering from mild dehydration, and you'd be surprised by the effects that has on your body and your mood. Your urine is not apple juice people, keep it clearer than that.* Drinking water may feel like a chore at first (it definitely does when a Drill Sergeant is breathing down your neck about it), but you'll find it becomes slowly habitual if you stick with it.
*You can also over-hydrate...don't do that.
4. Try To Make Someone's Day A Little Easier
Once a month I buy an extra pack of gum besides my personal pack, just to share it with others. When I drive by someone walking on post (ergo almost solidifying the fact that they won't go all horror movie on me) I check to see if they need a ride. I push the shopping carts back to their receptacles, I pick up trash if it's just hanging out on the ground, whenever I see a little kid and I'm in uniform I tell them that I'm on a secret mission to protect the cookies in the area (that one usually makes them laugh, they have to be like 5 though, the older ones just look at me like I'm dumb). Is this lame? Definitely. But it might mean the world to someone. That's one less cart the worker has to push back to the receptacle, one less journey on foot that guy has to make, and another smile added to that kid's count. That is reason enough to go out of one's way to help another person. To you, it might just be Tuesday, to that person it might be the day that was made for them because someone just helped them out a little when they needed it most.
5. Bury Hatchets
I am a BOSS at holding grudges. There is a dude from a Starbucks in South Korea that cut me off to grab a straw and I still burn with hatred towards him. I'm trying to be better about it though. I'm a firm believer in handling your business, if someone dare maketh an enemy out of you, thou shalt immolate thy aggressor's first born as penance (just kidding, don't do that, seriously I got an angry letter once for making a joke like that). However, once the issue is over, it's over. Whether you got the last laugh or not, it's over and there is no sense in stewing in unresolved feelings on the matter. A wise man once said "Holding a grudge is like letting someone live inside of your head rent free." I don't know about you guys, but I am way too poor to afford letting anyone stay with me for free! Ditch the grudges, you'll feel better for it.
6. Sleep (The Right Amount)
Raise your hand if you love to sleep. Now since I'm not actually able to see you guys, I'm going to assume a lot of hands went up, I mean why wouldn't they? Sleep is the bee's knees. Now you're more than likely either a pro at sleeping who majors in it (getting anywhere from 8 - 10+ hours a day), or you're a star-crossed lover of sleep forever doomed to be apart (getting like 5 hours or so). I'm the latter on weekdays and the former on weekends, but neither is inherently good for you. Studies seem to agree that we should be getting anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep a night, simple enough. It really depends on you though. I function well off 4-5, but 8 or more leaves me sluggish and tired (which is a shame because I love sleeping), so take the time to discover what amount works best for you. Effectively understanding how much sleep your body needs helps you manage your time better, and take care of your body. You heard it here folks, go to sleep. I approve this message.
7. Communicate More
Alright, since I'm a firm believer in using personal experience in getting points across more effectively, it's time to overload you guys. My last relationship failed, and it did so because of lack of communication, it all stemmed from that. Tensions used to be high in my family due to lack of communication. Ask anyone who has ever served in the Military and they'll tell you that one of the biggest issues in service is a lack of communication. Communication is big guys, BIG. How can anyone know there's a problem if you don't speak up? How can they know you're frustrated with them if you don't speak up? How do they know you care if you don't speak up? A lot of people (especially males like myself) are raised around this rule that we shouldn't be honest with others about our emotions. That concept is complete balderdash guys (and girls, for that matter). Unfortunately we as humans have yet to develop bad ass super powers (I mean seriously, I go out of my way for radioactive waste, unsung hidden temples, magic storms, and scientific disasters; still nothing!), which means we are not mind readers. Tell us how you feel.* We'll tell you. And we'll all be better off for it.
*"Telling someone how you feel" is not the same as "Be a dick to others." Have some tact people. Speaking of...
8. Have Some Tact
I cannot BEGIN to tell you how many events occur throughout any given day that could have been redone so much better if the people involved simply had some damned tact. If you're breaking bad news, think about how you're organizing your words and think of the victim's perspective. If you're flaunting good news, take into account your audience, does said news have a potentiality to make other people envious? If it does, why bring it up? It doesn't matter whether you're confessing something terrible, cutting someone out of your life, or leaving your job, everything has the potential to be improved on if you simply think of what you're saying before you say it.