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10 Ideas to Show Kindness to a Stranger

In the busyness of life, it’s easy to get caught up in your surroundings and forget about the rest of the world. Who your family is, who your friends are and what you enjoy doing all affect you personally. You care about what they think and how your life is impacted. In all the craziness, we can easily forget about the people we don’t know—the people we don’t particularly interact with.

And when we don’t care about these people, the strangers, our lives might not reflect the altruistic values we try to focus on. Being kind to a stranger may seem simple, but it often requires a conscious effort to do. How can you show kindness to strangers in your life? We have 10 ideas to start.

1. Change your tone. First and foremost, you would be amazed at how simply changing the tone of your voice can influence those around you. Be conscious of how you present yourself, and use a softer, more engaging tone to demonstrate kindness.

2. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. Who knows, the stranger next to you on the bus may have an incredible story to tell. Ask questions to show you’re interested and you care about their wellbeing.

3. Use a smile. A smile can go a very long way. Stretch out your facial muscles and make the decision to smile more in your everyday life.

4. Hold the door open. Pay attention. If you see someone behind you heading for the door, take an extra five seconds to make them feel important by holding the door open.

5. Give compliments. When you find yourself admiring a stranger’s appearance, outfit or general qualities, then tell them. Because if you don’t, who will? Give compliments and you’ll find yourself receiving them even more.

6. Be patient. Take a breath. Have a moment to fully relax. Patience is a difficult quality to gain and manage, but the more you can practice it, the more kindness you will put out into the world.

7. Help someone in need. See someone broken down on the side of the road? How about a homeless person in need of a meal? Show them kindness by giving support, encouragement or even just having a conversation.

8. Encourage openness. When you’re open and honest, people will be open and honest with you. And when we’re open with each other, it’s even easier to be kind to one another.

9. Curb road rage. Seriously. Sounds simple, but do it.

10. Get to know a coworker. Funnily enough, many strangers in our lives are those who sit and work right next to us. Make an effort to get to know the coworkers in your life and show kindness to them every day.

If you want to live a more altruistic lifestyle, try out some of these tips for showing kindness to the strangers in your life. When we show kindness to those we don’t know, we fill up our hearts with even more love to give to those we do know.

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How to Celebrate National Senior Citizens Day

Happy August 21st, or as we like to call it, National Senior Citizens Day! National Senior Citizens Day is an entire day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contributions of our nation’s senior citizens. Whether it’s your parents, grandparents or a loved one, today is the day to show your appreciation for the lives they’ve lived.

How can you celebrate National Senior Citizens Day? We’re glad you asked. We have some ideas on how to honor senior citizens today, this week and for more times to come.

1. Reach out to those in your life.
First and foremost, celebrate National Senior Citizens Day by honoring the elderly members of your life. Reach out and connect with them today either in person, over the phone or (for the tech-savvy) online.

Oftentimes for the elderly, living on their own or in a community space can end up feeling lonely, so connecting with their friends and family members is a great way for them to be involved and feel appreciated. Take some time today to reach out, engage and build a positive relationship with the mature friends and family members of your life.

2. Volunteer at a retirement home.
Retirement homes are always looking for volunteers to help entertain, engage with or even care for their residents. What skills and talents do you have to offer? Often, these might be something as simple as the skill of conversation.

Volunteering at a retirement home shows you care about the senior citizens in your community. Not only will it help improve their day, but it can improve yours as well by building new relationships and having positive interactions with others.

3. Visit a hospital.
For those elderly citizens who might not get to spend today or many days with their friends and family members, see how you can get involved by visiting and volunteering with a local hospital. Cheer someone up by bringing little treats, offering care or just having a conversation. Today and every day, you can brighten up a senior citizen’s life by comforting and encouraging them during a difficult time.

4. Find a hobby to do together.
If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding time together, find a hobby you can do alongside a senior citizen in your life. Whether this is playing the piano, working on a puzzle or any other number of things doesn’t matter—the most important thing is you have fun together.

Try learning something new or, better yet, teaching something new to embrace a different experience. Hobbies are an awesome way of connecting people across generations, so see what you can do with the elderly loved ones in your life.

5. Research your family history.
Finally, celebrate National Senior Citizens Day by researching your own family history and learning about your heritage. What better way to honor the elderly among us than learning more about those who have gone before? Research and outline your family history for a surprise gift to a senior family member, or for your own benefit at home. See what you can find out and celebrate today by remembering the past.

This August 21st, embrace your mature friends and family members by honoring National Senior Citizens Day. Try out some of our ideas to celebrate today, and keep it going throughout the week and into the rest of the year.

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Back-To-School: Supplies You Can Donate

Ah yes, another year, another back-to-school season. The time has come when children and their families line the aisles searching for every last item on their teacher’s “Please bring with you” list. But for some students, back-to-school shopping can be an incredibly stressful time.

For many families, back-to-school shopping brings a whole new set of financial worries for the fall. However, we as a community can come together and support one another. If you want to help make a difference and support children and families in need within your community, check out our list of school supplies you can donate.

1. Backpacks. Backpacks aren’t always thought of as school supplies, but many students can’t afford something to carry their supplies in. Consider giving a gently used or new backpack to a child in need for this upcoming school year.

2. Three-ring binders. Three-ring binders are always a necessity for school, so see if you can find some you can donate to a local school or nonprofit organization.

3. Notebooks. What better to go inside those three-ring binders than notebooks themselves? Whether they’re wide-ruled or college-ruled, notebooks are always needed.

4. Folders. Two-pocket folders are useful for students of all ages. Check out your local store to see how many you can find and give to your community.

5. Rulers. Many younger students often need quality rulers when working on homework. Rulers are a great supply that can help students through math and more.

6. Pencils. Every student—young and old—needs pencils. Mechanical versus traditional may be up for discussion, but your gift will be important no matter what.

7. Pens. To go along with the pencils, of course.

8. Markers. For more youthful students, using markers is a fun and creative way to learn. Even a few packs of donated markers can go a long way in making a student’s day.

9. Crayons. We all remember the social power crayons had in elementary school. Help students feel included by donating quality crayon boxes to organizations in your community.

10. Pencil box. What better place to keep all of these supplies than in their very own pencil box? Get creative and fun with the pencil boxes you pick out to give to students.

11. Scissors. We should not run with them, but we definitely need them. Scissors of all sizes are a great item to donate to local schools.

12. Index cards. These may be more necessary for older students, but still a great donation item to give to others.

13. Erasers. Because we all make mistakes.

14. Boxes of tissues. You may wonder, “Why?” But the teacher thinks, “Thank you!” Tissues are an important part of any classroom.

15. Colored pencils. Finally, have fun with your donation by picking out beautiful colored pencils to give to a student in need.

This list is only the beginning of items you can donate to schools and nonprofit organizations in your community. Pick some out next time you go shopping for an extra splash of altruism this back-to-school season.

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5 Reasons to Become an Organ Donor

Did you know that at this very moment more than 120,000 people in the United States are in need of a life-saving organ? According to the American Transplant Foundation (ATF), a new person is added to this list every 12 minutes.

With organ donations, tissue or organs are removed surgically from a deceased or living donor, and transplanted to the person in need. For individuals and their families, the words “You need a new organ” are earth-shattering. Luckily, we can make a difference. Check out five reasons for you to become an organ donor.

1. Severe Shortage
Right now in the U.S., there is a severe shortage meeting the demand for organ donations. According to Donate Life America, there are more than 86 million registered tissue, organ and eye donors living in the United States. However, there is still an additional 106,000 men, women and children who are in need of donated tissue and organs.

This shortage is due to a variety of reasons. One is not everyone is aware of the need for donations. Another is it can be difficult to meet the medical and behavioral criteria to become an organ donor. Despite the reasons individuals are unable to donate, the fact still remains: the demand outweighs the supply. Your donation can be a part of meeting the shortage.

2. Renewed Purpose
Donating tissue or organs can be done while you’re living or after you pass. Either way, making the choice to donate can often provide a renewed sense of purpose in life. Knowing that your decision can improve or even save someone else’s life is a beautiful feeling.

3. Grieving Process
Live On NY states that while a family grieves the loss of their loved one, they can often find comfort in knowing that loss went towards helping another. It’s always difficult to lose someone we love. But if you choose to become an organ donor after your death, family members can often find solace in your donation. If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, talk with your family members to hear their thoughts and how they would feel after you pass.

4. Medical Research
For those interested in serving the betterment of all society, becoming an organ donor can be a huge gift towards medical research. When individuals give their whole body, some parts can be used to donate to people in need, while those not needed can go directly to medical research facilities to help the next generation of transplant recipients. Nothing is wasted, and each part of the donation is used to improve medical services for others.

5. Life-Saving
According to Donate Life America, depending on what you choose to give, your organ or tissue donation has the potential to save up to 80 lives. This is an important and powerful legacy you get to leave behind for others. This life-saving impact goes beyond just the donor and the recipient—it affects family members, friends and loved ones as well. That makes a difference.

How can you get registered to become an organ donor? It’s simple. Next time you renew your driver’s license, simply check “Become an organ donor.” If that’s too far off for you, check online with organizations such as the DMV, Organ Donor Registry or Donate Life America. No matter how you do it, your donation is vital to providing life-sustaining organs and tissues to those in need.

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6 Tips to Train Your Brain to Be More Positive (via Firespring)

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. Between the news, the community and our personal lives, it can be pretty easy to get overwhelmed, stressed out and even upset. As human beings, our automatic reaction doesn’t always lean in the most positive direction.

How can you live an altruistic lifestyle when negativity is on your mind? Today we’ve got the answers as we share six tips to help train your brain to be more positive.

1. Start your day off right.
The best way to start your day off right is by making sure you take time to ease into the day and really prepare. Have a moment of quiet time in the morning by relaxing, meditating or just thinking through your day and positive life moments. Take some time to physically, emotionally and mentally prepare for the day. And of course, eat breakfast. When you start your day off on a high note, the day will feel better overall, which leads to more positive thinking.

2. Make a gratitude list.
Be positive by maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Take some time to sit down and consider the things in your life you are truly grateful for. Once your list is compiled, find a safe place to keep it where you can see it consistently. For example, on your phone, at your desk at work or on a bookmark. Read through the list as often as you can to remind yourself of all the good things in your life and maintain a positive mindset.

3. Rework your response.
When something challenging or difficult happens in our lives, it’s easy to immediately respond negatively. Instead, rewire your brain by making a conscious effort to rework every negative response you have. For instance, instead of thinking, “Wow, I hate having to work late,” consider, “This is building up my experience for better opportunities later on.” By immediately changing your negative response into a positive one, you inherently rewire your brain to think positively rather than the alternative.

4. Stay active.
Too much idle time can result in opportunity for a downtrodden mindset. Instead, stay active and engaged with different activities and hobbies. Find things you enjoy to fill your time and thoughts with positive moments. If you’re more of a laid back person, you can still keep your mind active by reading books, playing games or even taking up writing. When you feel negative thoughts coming on, finding a positive outlet is a great way to channel them in a new direction.

5. Take care of yourself.
How can your brain be positive if your body doesn’t feel that way? Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally are vital to living a positive lifestyle. Make sure to eat healthy, get exercise and build joyful relationships with loved ones for a life you can feel good about. When you feel good, chances are your brain will follow suit with more positive ideas.

6. Support others.
Finally, when we give to others, we find joy in our own lives. Support others in your community by volunteering for causes you care about or donating to local nonprofit organizations. Supporting others is the ultimate way to give love, which you in turn receive. And when we put good out into the world, our brains reprogram to feel good and think good thoughts.

If you want to live a more altruistic lifestyle, start by reprogramming your brain to think more positively. Try out these six tips to focus your thoughts and train your brain to be more positive. When we think positive, we send positivity out into the world for others to enjoy as well.

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