It's tough to function in an inhospitable place. If your living environment is cluttered or noisy or toxic, if it lacks privacy or essential creature comforts, it's time to take action.

If you find yourself surrounded by stacks of old magazines or newspapers, start now to recycle them. If you have loud neighbors, ask them to quiet down, and if that doesn't help, speak to your landlord, even file a complaint with the police if it comes to that. Wash those dishes. Get out the broom and the vacuum. Rearrange the furniture. Improve the lighting. Hang a picture. Empty the trash.

Start now, bit by bit, one item at a time, begin to remake your living environment into a place where you can feel comfortable, secure, and productive. Make a place that reflects your values and tastes. A place to live, not just to exist. If you can't do it alone, ask a buddy for help. Offer to return the favor.

Activity

Make a short to-do list of improvements you can make to your living environment. Prioritize the items on the list and take some action every day for at least a week. Check off the items as you get them done.

 

This means volunteer, assist, help out. People who volunteer on a regular basis as part of an ongoing commitment to a worthy organization or cause like Friends of the Library or the Humane Society are performing a valued service and are rewarded with friendships, satisfaction, and personal growth. People who routinely assist others in meeting their needs as friends or caregivers build good karma and make the world a better place.

And some happy souls simply express in their very nature a generosity of spirit that William Wordsworth called, "feelings too / Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps, /  As have no slight or trivial influence / On that best portion of a good man's life, / His little, nameless, unremembered, acts / Of kindness and of love."  Such acts enlarge and enrich all who are touched by them.

Activity

For a week, look for opportunities to volunteer, help out, lend a hand to an individual or group without expecting any reward or repayment. You don't have to take up every one of these opportunities; after all, people sometimes need to learn to do for themselves, but try to find a few situations in which you can be of genuine assistance to another, and help.

It\'s often said that we each have some special gift or talent to share with the world. Sometimes, of course, this gift is obvious. The Olympic athlete, the scuptor, the great composer all come to mind. But you don\'t have to be Wilma Rudolph, Michaelangelo, or Mozart to inspire and enrich the lives of others with your talents.

Maybe you have an infectious laugh, a knack for telling stories, for gardening, for teaching, or simply for listening and caring. Chances are good that you know what that gift is. Maybe others have told you--teachers, parents, friends. Maybe you\'ve seen how others can be moved and enriched by your efforts. Attend to that gift. Nourish and practice it. Develop and share it--your gift to the world.

Activity:

1. In no more than two sentences describe a gift that you can share.

2. Tell how, where, and when you can share your gift with others.

 

A community, as we are using the term, is a group of people with common characteristics or interests who interact on an ongoing basis. Such communities come in many forms, and most people belong to several of them, some formal, some informal. This Web site, for instance, is an online community. A church is another type of community to which you may belong, as is a workplace, a school, a community center, or a retirement community.

Belonging to and participating in such groups offers a vital chance to express yourself and relate to others in productive and mutually rewarding ways. As you plan, share, discuss, debate, and make collective decisions, you reach beyond yourself to learn, grow, and do with others.

But unfortunately not all communities are so fulfilling. Some may have values and practices that conflict with what you value and believe. Some may be tightly controlled by a small group who put their own interests before the group as a whole. If you find yourself in such a community, and you can't see how to change things, you might consider limiting your involvement, even withdrawing so as to spend your efforts in more worthwhile pursuits.

Try to think more consciously about the various communities to which you belong and to consider the ways in which you could participate in them more fully. Which communities are most important and satisfying to you? How could you get more deeply involved? What talents or abilities could you share in this group? If you aren't sure, ask another person in this group how you could get more involved.

Activity

Make a list of every formal or informal community you belong to and rate those communities in terms of their importance to you on a scale of 1-10, with ten being highest. Then take the two or three communities that score highest and write a short paragraph about each telling how you might be able to participate more fully.

 

 

 

  

Even if you have a healthy diet, you should consider supplementing it with vitamins, minerals, and herbs to promote optimal daily wellness and to boost your immune system. While there is some debate about the value of taking supplements, almost everyone would allow that taking a daily multivitamin can help prevent deficits. If you aren't doing this now, start. Many manufacturers offer such multi-caps in formulas specially designed for seniors, and you may want to opt for one of those.

Beyond this minimum, many people use supplements to support their immune systems and to improve their mental sharpness, circulation, bone-density, libido, weight-loss, or breathing. The claims and counter-claims in such areas can be complex and inconclusive. If you're wiling to investigate and inquire, however, you're bound to find supplements that can benefit you. 

Activity

Buy a bottle of daily multi-caps, not at the local supermarket, but preferably at your local food co-op or health food store, or even at a place like GNC. As you shop, talk to the clerk about the various manufacturers and their products. Discuss your overall health and see what recommendations the clerk makes. Don't buy any more that the original multi-caps you came in for, but when you get home research some of the other products on the Web.