Meals to fight depression.

Greatist has a great list of things to eat that help lift your mood and links to the science to back it up.  I think the brown rice and black beans and the turkey burger and sweet potato fries seem most tasty and most doable, but go on over there and check it out for yourself.


Meals that Boost Your Mood

Ooh, on further reading I found trail mix with nuts and dark chocolate.   Yum.  It might be a good idea to keep some of that near you at all times and nosh a little bit now and then.


Kindness.

A simple, proven way to make you feel better.

Reach out to others.   Random acts of kindness are fun and make you feel good inside and they don't have to be that complicated.  For example, you could get a dollar bill and some quarters, go to Walmart and put a quarter in each of the gumball machines or the drink machines, hide a dollar in the toy section for a child to find and on your way out, if there's a donation machine for a local children's hospital, put whatever you have left in there.  It's fun! 

Here's the best list of random acts of kindness I have seen, it has 83 different ones!  


Or just be kind to someone who lives in your home.  Do their chore before they get a chance to, leave a note for them under their pillow, to let them know you love them.  Pet your dog or cat.  Get a bunch of fun things for your family, put them on the front porch, ring the doorbell, then run around and come in the back door as if nothing has happened.  An act of kindness for yourself might be giving yourself a break on something, taking it easy one day or buying yourself some flowers.  Just having flowers in your home has been proven to help with depression. 

 

Try it.

On this blog, I try to be encouraging and I know that when you are depressed and just overwhelmingly sad, it is very difficult to think that anything will help but some of these things really, really do.  It's crazy, but as I have journeyed to the place I am now, off meds and coping better than I was on the meds, there are a few of the things that have been really helpful to me.  One is needlework, in the form of crocheting, the second is the art journaling/doodling stuff that I do and the third which may actually be the most helpful because it is portable and easy, is, believe it or not, the fake-it-till-you-make-it, fake smiling.
One of my art journal pages.  Drawing these big flowers is relaxing to me.

It's seems crazy, I know, but it is true.

Forbes on fake smiling.

For resources on the art journaling if you don't know where to start, you can try some happiness journals.


The Happy Book

How to Be Happy

For needleworking here's a video on how to crochet.

How to Crochet

How to Knit

Try anything that will help you feel happier, within reason.  Don't hurt yourself or anyone else.  That doesn't work.

Take care of yourself.  I know the holidays can be hard and seriously, (because it looks kind of creepy) every time you go into the bathroom, give yourself the biggest smile you can and hold it for as long as you can.  Crinkle up your eyes.  Get all into it.  Seriously.  It does help.



Unplug!

The news these days has been very depressing and sometimes its just best to unplug from it.  Will you being informed about the events as they unfold really influence the outcome?  What if you just checked in once a week?

This article lists so many reasons to turn it off and unplug!
The Guardian.



This one too.
Is the news making you depressed?  From AllParenting.

This article is good for dealing with your worst depression days.
What to do on the bad days of depression.

Also, remember what we've discussed on this blog, get outside and get some sunshine, fake smile, move around a little, do some art, play, do something that gets you into the zone.

This too, shall pass.   Don't take the whole world on your shoulders!


Coloring.

The Guardian, adult colouring books anxiety-stress-mindfulness

Adult coloring books are all the rage now.  I know that when I started to get really depressed over my mom's situation (Alzheimer's disease) and all of the other things I was going through, I started doing a form of art journaling, which for me, basically involved writing bible verses and drawing flowers beside them.  As the last couple of years has unfolded, not in any way I'd want them to really, I've done a LOT of art.  It has saved my sanity.  Right now, I'm off of my antidepressant and in a pretty good place.



I drew this this morning and wanted to share in case you want to color right now.  :-)  Just right click it with your mouse, save to your computer, then you can print it out and color it.  If the bible verse offends you, color the background black or cover it with a sticker.  No worries!



A couple of articles.

The first one is a list of 10 things you may be doing that have been proven to make you less happy.  It's a very wise article.  The things include thinking too much about yourself and not getting enough sleep.  There are others there that might not be as easy to guess and you should go read it.



The next one is a list of 10 foods you should eat every day to help fight depression.  Hey, if we can beat this thing by eating, I'm all over that.

Keep fighting it.  It is winnable.





A little food, a little wine?

Of course we all know the Mediterranean diet is good for us, we've heard the news, but I didn't know that it was good for depression, but it turns out it is.  When I think of the Mediterranean diet, I think of olive oil, fish, veggies all washed down with some wine.
 I have a hard time following diets, changing my diet (although I have made some changes),  Go read the article.  It has a guide to the Mediterranean diet to help you get started and the encouraging news that you only have to moderately adhere to it, just make a few changes.


Waiting it out?

We get happier as we get older with happiness levels at 70 the same as at 21. Wisdom may bring happiness with it when it comes.  


Here's the link:  Aging has an upside - Happiness

"So perhaps, as it turns out, pursuit isn’t the best approach in the quest for happiness. Patience offers better odds. 
It appears that happiness sidles up to us gradually, gently, borne on a lifetime’s accumulation of adaptability, acceptance, appreciation and experience. A fringe benefit of age.
Another year older; another year happier. Light the candles. Cut the cake and celebrate as the double digits climb."
Middle age can be hard, but hang in there baby.  

Looking at the sky.



Looking at the sky is good for you.  I like to look at the sky and I like to take pictures of the sky.  It's meditative to sit and look at the clouds and it's good for you.  Try it.
 This is an easy one.  Even on cloudy, seemingly depressive days, the clouds are always doing something interesting, making shapes, moving.  Look.




http://lauragraceweldon.com/2013/07/24/look-up/

Video Games?

Of course, there are video games to help us.  My favorite is The Sims which is silly, but it's play and play is a helpful thing, so I go with it. I played it daily for a while after my dad passed away.    I also have found that there are games which have been specifically designed to help with depression and anxiety.  There is a good list here, with links.

Tech-Mic  - Video Games

And here is another good list.

Venturebeat

I have not played any of these so if you have, let me know if it helped and if there are any ratings related things we might need to know.

There's also a web site with calming, happifying activites called Happify.  It has a subscription fee but is very highly rated, so may be worth it for you.   I did try this with a free subscription and found that it was not for me, not my style, but it might be yours.




There's an app for that?

I guess I should have known that there is an app for everything but I didn't think about it, until today, to wonder if there was an app for depression.  Turns out, there are a ton of them.

Healthline has a slide show listing 18 of them, can you believe it?  Here it is.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has rated several of them for ease of use and helpfulness and you can find that here.  
I'm still going low tech for stress relief and coping with life, art journaling, crocheting and exercising. 

I haven't tried one yet, have you?  I do think that I need to spend a lot less time on Facebook and I will be happier.  I may need to find an app that tracks my Facebook time and locks me out.  

(going looking on Google ....)

Found it!  An app that keeps you from spending too much time on social media sites.


Art. I knew it.

Last year when things were pretty dismal in my life and I kept feeling like I was having the metaphorical rug pulled out from me about once a week, I just felt overwhelmed.  I felt hopeless.  I didn't feel that I had the mental capacity to read or crochet.  Taking a walk or going around people just seemed like more than I could handle.  That's when my art exploded.  I just wanted to draw all of the time.  I had begun doing artwork a year or so before and helped me cope with my Dad's passing and my Mom's Alzheimers, but when everything came raining down on me, I retreated into my art to recover.  It helped immensely.  I personally write bible verses on all of my art, so that got me reading and finding quotes about hope and that helped even more.  I feel like my art pulled me through the tough times.  I would say that most of it is not very good, but sometimes I get lucky and all of the elements on the page blend together and it's good and when I look at it, it makes me feel happy.  In searching the web, I have found that doing art has been proven to make people happier.  I knew it.






Here are a few facts about art and our mental health.

1.  Four out of the six happiest activities are arts related.

2.  It's kind of a chicken and the egg thing,   Creativity Breeds Happiness   "Richards, the researchers note, wrote that day-to-day creativity “is both a cause and consequence of positive development."

3 You don't have to be good at it to reap the benefits.

4.  Just looking at art makes us happier.    

Resources. 

Here are a bunch of art therapy prompts to get you started if you don't know what to do at first.  Expressive Art Inspirations

Coloring in coloring books and doing paint by numbers are also ideas.  I don't know if there have been scientific studies done about these, but they sure are popular right now.

Adults Are Coloring.

Coloring Books for Grownups are a Thing.

Here's one of my drawings without any color, for you to download and color if you'd like.  Right click with your mouse on the picture and you can either select save image or print right from there.


Sing in a choir.

Singing in a choir makes you happier.  It boosts all the good hormones in your brain.

Heres an article:  Slate and here's an excerpt.

"Music is awash with neurochemical rewards for working up the courage to sing. That rush, or “singer's high,” comes in part through a surge of endorphins, which at the same time alleviate pain. When the voices of the singers surrounding me hit my ear, I'm bathed in ...


dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure and alertness. Music lowers cortisol, a chemical that signals levels of stress. Studies have found that people who listened to music before surgery were more relaxed and needed less anesthesia, and afterward they got by with smaller amounts of pain medication. Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria and contentment."

How cool is that?  

Here are a few more articles for those who like to read everything (like me!) 

Singing Changes Your Brain

Imperfect Harmony  (Love that title!)


10 Reasons to Make Singing Your Happiness.

And from Deep Fun (a site I just love), an article on Complaints Choirs, which joins snarky comments and singing!  So.  Much.  Fun.  You have to go read it and take a listen.  

Here's a directory to find a choir in your area.  ChoralNet   and here's another one.  Vocal Area Network

If you can't find one there, remember most churches have a choir you can join and community theater groups often need ensemble singers.  

Posture!

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are!  Go now and watch this video.  I'll wait.



Now spend 2 minutes adopting one of the power poses that make you feel more powerful and able to take on life's challenges.  It's worth 2 minutes of your time to try isn't it?

If for some reason you can't watch the video, here it is summed up.

Wonder Woman Did It Right

Here's a quote.  "Our body language is always influencing how others perceive you, but more importantly, it changes how YOU feel. Amy Cuddy’s research showed that not only does your posture change how you feel, but it also changes your hormone levels in a significant and meaningful way. "



Plan a Vacation!

Even if you can't afford to take one right now, planning one is beneficial to your mental health.  Really.  The optimal thing would be to be able to plan and take several small vacations each year, but if you can't do that, start a little savings fund and do a little planning.  It takes your mind off your troubles.

How Vacations Affect Your Happiness

Do Vacations Make Us Happier?


For more good advice on how to plan a vacation click to read more.  




One thing that can affect your happiness on the trip is to have realistic expectations, a daily plan or itinerary (at least a loose one) to prevent the "what are we going to do"? arguments/discussions that can take up a whole day and to take something you look forward to doing to do during the down-times.  I know that when our family of 5 has to adapt to a hotel room with 1 bathroom, waiting for people to get through the bathroom time to finally get ready to go is something that gets on my nerves.  For us, since we don't have cable TV at home, we often entertain ourselves by watching shows we don't get to watch at home, but sometimes there's not anything we can agree on, so we play board games or walk around the hotel while waiting.  It helps us not to grouch at each other and ruin the mood of the trip.  Also, with kids especially, it's good to have a budget plan and stick to it so that they know not to beg for souvenirs.  You might want to give them some trip spending money.  If you do, don't be critical of their buying choices.  It's budgeted, pretend like it is already spent and don't take this time to lecture them on financial planning.  It's vacation.  Have fun!

Here's a link to some travel planning apps.  Optimize your next vacation.

Personally, I love going on HomeAway and imagining vacationing.  :-)

Here's a fun article about traveling for free!  Budget Travel.  You can house-sit, pet sit, work on an organic farm ... all for free lodging!

Remember, one of the happiest parts about vacation is the planning, when anything is possible, so have fun with it!

Talking to yourself.

WSJ

Inc

Annie Murphy Paul

Three articles but they basically are about the same thing, talking to oneself.  We all have self-talk, whether it's inside our heads or out loud or a combination of the two, but how you refer to yourself, it turns out, is important.

"The way you address yourself matters, too. Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in February found people who spoke to themselves as another person would—using their own name or the pronoun "you"—performed better under stress than people who used the word "I."

Referring to yourself in the as if you are a friend, using you or your name makes you feel less anxious and less stressed when performing a difficult task.  

I find it fascinating, what do you think?  



Coffee?!

Here's the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Coffee to prevent depression?

Here's a quote:  "Conclusions In this large longitudinal study, we found that depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption. "   

I don't know about you, but I love coffee and increasing my coffee consumption a little bit might not be a bad thing.  :-)  I think it's going to be one of the things that I routinely do, along with getting more sun and eating more yogurt.  



Ways to actively fight depression.

Here's a link to a good article on Psychology Today.  Fight it.  Fight it hard.  

Here's an excerpt:    

"To begin this process, it is helpful to think of these destructive thoughts as being like the parasites that keep you in bed when you're sick with the flu. Don't listen to these attacks when they tell you not to pursue your goals, to isolate yourself, or to forego an activity you enjoy. This gives the voice even more power over you. Instead, when you notice these thoughts and attitudes starting to intensify and take precedence over your more realistic, positive ways of thinking, it is essential to identify them as an alien point of view. Ask yourself, would you think such cruel thoughts about a friend or family member who was experiencing the same struggles. By having compassion for yourself and recognizing this inner voice as a destructive enemy, you can begin to see who you are more clearly and realistically." 
One of the ways I fight depression is art journaling.  It helps me get into a state of flow.  Try and find what works for you.
Now read the rest.  

To quote my favorite 21 Pilots song, Holding Onto You


Remember the moment you know exactly where you're going,'Cause the next moment, before you know it,Time is slowing and it's frozen still,And the window sill looks really nice, right?You think twice about your life, it probably happens at night,Right? Fight it, take the pain, ignite it,Tie a noose around your mind loose enough to breathe fine and tie it,To a tree, tell it, "You belong to me,This ain't a noose, this is a leash,And I have news for you, you must obey me."


Here's a link to the song on You Tube.  The song is good, the video is weird.  :-)  


Stress!

I've not been blogging lately because I have been experiencing some stress.  We've had a cancer diagnosis in the past 2 weeks in a close family member and we've been trying to deal with it.  I think that she's going to be okay now and we seem to be adjusting to our new normal.  While in the midst of this, I walked into the library and saw this book.




It is absolutely mind boggling and incredible!. This book says it's not stress that kills us, it's the way we think about stress that kills us or strengthens us.  If you don't do anything else I ever have said or will say in the future, watch this video.


Here's a quote: “Mindset 1: Stress Is Harmful. Experiencing stress depletes my health and vitality. Experiencing stress debilitates my performance and productivity. Experiencing stress inhibits my learning and growth. The effects of stress are negative and should be avoided. Mindset 2: Stress Is Enhancing. Experiencing stress enhances my performance and productivity. Experiencing stress improves my health and vitality. Experiencing stress facilitates my learning and growth. The effects of stress are positive and should be utilized.” ― Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress: Why stress is good for you

Okay, this one is pretty interesting.

Botox, the botulism toxin that the inject into your face to paralyze your muscles so you won't have frown line wrinkles, makes you feel happier because it makes you unable to frown and facial muscles influence brain activity.


Time Magazine Wipe Away That Frown.

If you keep reading to the bottom of the article, it gets even more odd.

"But Lewis says he favors the theory that facial muscles influence brain activity directly and points to earlier research that suggests such a neurological link. For example, studies have shown that subjects find comedy routines significantly funnier when they hold a pen between their teeth the way a dog holds a bone, a pose that stimulates the muscles used for smiling. Similarly, subjects laugh less when holding a pen between their lips, a pose that mimics frowning."


He looks pretty happy here, doesn't he?  



NY Times - Get Botox!


Let me sum up.



On this blog, so far, we have explored the science behind many different ways to improve your mood.  We've looked at how doing things for others can make you feel better, how practicing an attitude of gratitude can also help.  Those are the things you have heard of.  Some of the things that I am learning while researching and writing this blog and trying to hold on tightly to my own joy (and sanity) are just plain fascinating and frankly, kind of weird.
Here are some of the ways in a handy, printable form.  Hang this up someplace, use it as a background on your phone or tablet, do some of these things.  Honestly, I think the yogurt, which is the only one I have been doing consistently, may have saved my life this week.  Seriously, try to do them everyday!  Here they are.


Showering?

Okay, this is a weird one to me.  To reduce depression, take a cold shower.  Really.  It's backed up by research, found here.   Here's an excerpt:    Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.

To see other benefits of cold showers (besides the one you always hear about) read this article.  






While you're in there, might as well belt out some show tunes, since singing show tunes helps prevent dementia 

Mindfulness.

I have to be honest here, I don't really know what mindfulness is.  I've heard of it.  This article says that mindfulness is as effective as antidepressants for preventing a relapse of depression.  I want to go off of my antidepressant and this may be just what I need.

Here's a little explanation from the article on Forbes.

"Here’s a little about MBCT: the practice marries mindfulness meditation (or mindfulness training) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which are quite related to begin with. With mindfulness, an individual learns to observe his or her own thoughts with curiosity and without judgment, acknowledge them, and then let them go"  

I looked around a little online and found this free mindfulness class.   I don't know if I will try it.  I may also go to a counselor that provides this training as I have good health insurance.  On Psychology Today, they have a Find a Therapist service and you can indicate that you want them to be trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Wow, I really think I need this.

  

Good article from Apartment Therapy.

5 Unexpected Things Happy People Have In Their Homes

The first one is ....

A mess

Check.

This was last Christmas and the Kayak is no longer there and the tinsel is not up, but otherwise, the mess is still about the same ... we live here and we're messy.

Having a mess in your home, for happiness sake?  Really?  Go read the article and find out why.

Another tool in our battle.

It turns out that this tool for fighting depression is easy, inexpensive and tasty.  It's yogurt!  According to a study in the Netherlands, reported here in the Telegraph.  I read this first this this morning and had 2 yogurts this morning for breakfast and I have to admit that I feel better today than I have for the past few weeks, despite having a bad phone call with my boss this morning, so maybe it works. This is something I could totally do every day, maybe not 2, but one yogurt a day.  It does have to be one with live cultures.  

"A 2013 US study found that participants who consumed yogurt twice daily for a month showed lower levels of activity in the areas of the brain associated with emotion and pain, together with increased activity in areas associated with decision making."  



A strawberry flavored, healthy weapon in the battle against depression?  I'll take it!  Seriously, this is wonderful.    

An article on The Science Of Happiness.

"It's more than a little comforting to know that people can become happier, that pessimists can become optimists, and that stressed and negative brains can be trained to see more possibility." - Shawn Achor

This is a quote from the post from Huffington Post.  I'll wait here while you go read the article. 

It mentions a bunch of the things that we have already talked about on this blog, exercising, being kind do others, meditating (or praying), but it adds in a few I haven't heard of, such as abandoning shallow small talk and talking about things that matter.  It's worth taking a look if you haven't already.  



Goals for 2015.

I came in to 2015 in a stress/survival state but I am going to leave 2015 in better shape.  Who's with me?  I found this 2015 Goal Setting Worksheet and I am going to fill it out, decide on my priorities and try and stopped being overwhelmed by all there is to do, so that I can feel more joy with what I have.  Come on, join me!


Tylenol?

I saw this yesterday.  Tylenol can affect your mood.  Researchers at Ohio State University found that Tylenol and "blunt emotions and even reduce the degree of positive and negative feelings."  I don't know about you, but the fact that Tylenol has any effect on my feelings at all just makes me kind of uncomfortable.  I think I will lay off the Tylenol.  What do you think?  


Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness, Part 9.


Give a restaurant gift card to someone standing by the road with a sign asking for help.  Get a few to keep in your car for this reason.

Be a coach in the Special Olympics.  Go to   http://www.specialolympics.org  or call 1 (800) 700-8585 to see how you can help.

Sponsor a child - This is more personal that just donating to a charity.  There are several organizations through which you can do this.
www.worldvision.org
Phone: (888) 511-6443
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Or
www.savethechildren.org
1.800.728.3843
or email twebster@savechildren.org

These are only 2 of many.  Find one you believe in and give.


Volunteer at a local hospital.  Fix a meal, hold a hand, hold a baby, water the plants, show people around.  Again, there are jobs for everyone.  Look up your hospital on line or give them a call to find out how to get started.


Foster a pet.  Help socialize them so that they may be adoptable later on.  www.petfinder.com


Become a CASA volunteer.  Be the voice of a child in court.  http:www.casaforchildren.org  or call 800-628-3233


   Build a house - or help anyway, with Habitat for Humanity.  www.habitat.org  or call 1-800-HABITAT


Take a volunteer vacation. 

www.globalaware.org

http://www.travelocity.com/TravelForGood/index.html

http://www.volunteerinternational.org

If you haven't found what you want to do yet, check out www.volunteermatch.org for all kinds of volunteer work, even administrative work you can do without leaving home!


Just for fun, plan an outing doing as many good deeds as you can.  For example:   Send some fun mail.  Head out to your local hospital and put dollars on the vending machines with notes.  Put quarters on all the gumball machines you see.  Go to a drive through and pay for the person behind you (Make it a McDonald's and you can donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities while you are there).  Drop some baked goods at the fire department.  Go to a store to get some yarn for the Linus blanket you are going to make later.  Put the change you get back from your purchase into the Coinstar and choose a charity.  When you get back home, visit all the web sites listed at the beginning of this book that are free and make donations and play Free Rice for a little while.  For less than the cost of 1 dinner and a movie, you can have so much fun helping others.

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can help another without helping themselves.” Ralph Waldo Emerson



Have a great day! 

Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness, part 8.


For the crafty - you can knit, crochet or do other needlework for charity.   

http://projectlinus.org/volunteer/
Click on your state to find where to drop off blankets.

Our volunteers, known as “blanketeers,” provide new, handmade, washable blankets to be given as gifts to seriously ill and traumatized children, ages 0-18. It is Project Linus' policy to accept blankets of all sizes, depending on local chapter needs. All blanket styles are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. Always remember that blankets must be homemade, washable, free of pins, and come from smoke-free environments due to allergy reasons.



Crochet a mat for the homeless out of grocery bags.  Here's a link to an Instructables tutorial of how to make the "plarn".  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Plarn-3/

Once you've made a bunch of the plarn, then you just single crochet until you have a mat 3 feet wide and 6 feet long.  It only takes a couple of months.    

Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness, Part 7



Donate through CoinStar.  You know the machines in front of many stores that will count your change.  They will also take charitable donations.  Any size donation will be accepted.  CoinStar supports these charities:   American Red Cross, Audubon, Autism Speaks, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Change Making Change, Children's Miracle Network, Feeding America, Humane Society of U.S.,     Jumpstart, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UNICEF and World Wildlife Fund.



Sell something you no longer need on Ebay and donate the proceeds.  Ebay has a program called Ebay Giving Works and you can choose how much you want to donate.


Help The Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Of course you can always drop your change in the charity boxes at every McDonald's restaurant, but if you live near a Ronald McDonald House, you can also donate your time.  They have a 30 ways in 30 days list on their website with 30 ways you can help.  http://rmhc.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/30-ways-in-30-days/
These include bringing baked goods, planting flowers, cooking a meal, decorating a room.  There are all kinds of jobs here for all kinds of volunteers, whether you are good with people, a good cook or good with plants.  Anyone who can answer a phone can help.  If you are housebound, you can collect pop tabs from aluminum cans for their program.  Phone: 630-623-7048
Email: info@rmhc.org


If not now, when?

I'm challenging you, today, to do at least one random act of kindness.  It will make you feel better as well as the recipient.   For some of them, you don't have to put down your phone or get out of your chair.   Seriously, do it now.


Cheap and Free Random Acts of Kindness Part 6.


Have a un-birthday party at your home.  Bake a cake, decorate, invite friends and ask them to bring the amount of money they would spend on your birthday present as a donation to your charity.  Fun ones for this could be Heifer International or World Vision (www.heifer.org or donate.worldvision.org).  You could divide your guests into teams and have them compete against each other to see where the money would go.  Imagine how much fun to play as team goat or team chicken and then send the money to a charity at the end of the party.)

Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness Part 5.


Hand out bottles of water to workers on a hot day; of course be careful not to hold up traffic. 


Pay for someone's toll or hamburger, in line behind you at a drive through.  (If you are worried about how much this will cost, just say, I'd like to pay $5.00 of the cost of the meal for the person behind me, or please give the person behind me a free ice cream cone, on me and tell them to have a great day!)


Get some travel size toiletries and donate them to a hospital.  The hospital I volunteer for is a Children's Hospital and they accept all kind of supplies, new toys or stuffed animals, toiletries for parents who have to stay overnight such as shampoo, deodorant and tooth paste/brushes.  Call your local hospital and ask what you can do.



Have a bake sale and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.

Free and cheap random Acts of Kindness, Part 4.


Send happy mail.  Did you know you can mail a small package of candy or a small toy priority mail with stamps?  If it weighs less than 13 ounces, you can put stamps and an address on it and drop it in a post office box.    Look at  https://www.usps.com/ to calculate how much it will cost.
I looked it up today and here are some general guidelines, although prices change frequently.
To mail a 1 ounce package just about anywhere in the United States from my address was 2.07 and to mail a 13 ounce package was 3.77 no matter what zip code I put in.  Just for fun, mail someone a package of crayons, a candy bar, a book or a small toy.  Make someone's day.  This is great for the grandkids, but everyone is a kid at heart!


Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness Part 3.


Put a couple of quarters on a gumball machine for a child to find, or put a dollar on a vending machine (especially in a hospital!) with a little note that says something like, "Enjoy this random act of kindness.".   This is so fun! 

Reach out to your neighbors.  Bake loaves of banana bread, wrap and deliver them. 

Send someone a little note, a thank you card.  Thanksgiving is a great time of year to send a note to say thank you to someone who has been a help to you.  





Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness, Part 2.


Free things to do. 




Twenty Five Ways To Spread Some Kindness.


http://lauragraceweldon.com/2012/07/17/25-ways-to-spread-some-kindness/

Check out this post on Laura Grace Weldon's blog.  It's the same kind of thing we're talking about.

Free and Cheap Random Acts of Kindness - Part 1.

Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do Right Now!

1.     Visit The Hunger Site and donate food to someone who is hungry.  This is free to do. 



2.  Visit The Breast Cancer Site and donate a portion of a mammogram to a woman in poverty, just by clicking!  You could actually save someone's life.  Think about it!




3.     Visit The Animal Rescue site and donate a bowl of food to a homeless animal in a shelter.



4.     Go to The Veterans Site to donate a meal to someone who has served our country.




5.     Go to The Autism Site to donate free therapy to an autistic child.  While you are there, do some shopping.  Their silicone bracelets are very cute.




6.     The Child Health Site - This is where you can donate health care to a child.  They keep a running total of the number of children who have been helped each day at the bottom of the page that you will see after you click and donate.  On the day I was writing this, 204 children had been helped.




7.     The Literacy Site - Click here to donate books to children!  After you click it will show you how many books have been donated that day.




8.     The Rainforest Site - When you click on this site's give button, you save the rainforest, an amount measured in square feet.  Every little bit helps.  100% of the sponsor's money goes to the rainforest.



9.     Free Rice - Play a vocabulary game, answer a math question or even prep for your SAT test using this site and every correct answer donates 10 grains of rice for a hungry person through the United Nations World Food Program.  You'll need to play quite a while to give them a whole bowlful, but hey, it's fun and kind of addictive. 


Do good while you are shopping!  
http://www.igive.com/welcome/lp16/cr60.cfm