December 8, 2015

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Have you had your DDD (a.k.a. Daily Dose of Disaster) today?

Lately, it has felt as if we wake up every morning to a DDD. What is today’s DDD? Will it be a mild supplement or a mega dose? What are we to do with the constant news streams, alerts, and updates? How do we process the surreal images of horrors across the globe or close to home?

As the holidays approach, some of us are overwrought with fear, disgust, and sadness. Others try to block out the noise and go about life as if nothing is happening. Most of us are somewhere in between, searching for balance. We want to make some small difference but feel so much of what is transpiring in the world is outside our individual control. We feel helpless and scared.

Fear can incite the portion of our brain that fuels anxiety and leads us to react with aggregation and isolation – our fight or flight response fully engaged. But what separates us from other animals is our anterior insular cortex, which allows us to access the human qualities of empathy, sympathy, and compassion.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we have a unique opportunity to gather with those we love, express gratitude, and set our intention to change our world one thought, word, or act at a time. We can each identify one small way to live our lives better.

We are all familiar with the highly touted power of a gratitude journal. By simply ending or beginning our day focused on our blessings, our perspective changes and mental and physical barometers shift. Personally, I have found gratitude to be powerful, but not enough. Last spring, I became concerned that I wasn’t doing enough or making a big enough impact on the people and issues that I care about. Many have accomplished and are accomplishing so much more. At that time, I made a personal commitment to expand my scope while asking myself at the end of each day, “How did you make a difference today?”

While we still may wake up to a DDD, we can go to sleep counting our blessings and recognizing what we did to make our small piece of the world a better place.

Live well/Be well

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