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STAMFORD, CT, August 05, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It's not only the temperature that is rising this Summer. It is hot, hot, hot, and life is considerably hotter and more complicated than in years gone by. The statistics are alarming. Individuals and families have less money to spend on vacation, unemployment rates are inching up and food prices are escalating. Guess what is also on the rise? - the consumption of anti-depressant drugs.
Coach and author Millie Grenough comments, "Life years ago was so much simpler. Summer was a time when kids ran free and played all day and into the evening hours, till our moms called us home. Families spent time together enjoying picnics, going to the beach and entertaining ourselves with all kinds of crazy games. Those were times we all looked forward to -- and there was little if any cost attached to what we did. Life today is quite simply not that easy. Anti-depressants don't have to be the only answer."
To put this in perspective, Grenough continues, "Almost everyone I meet says that this Summer is different from last year. And it's really different from when I was a kid. But if we try to take advantage of the beautiful long Summer days and let the sunshine add natural vitamin D, it can make a positive difference in our daily lives."
This prompted Grenough to wonder: in this land of the free and home of the brave, what can we do to send our Summer in a different and better direction, and how can we rid ourselves of all the negative energy. She set out to conduct an informal survey asking three questions in an attempt to bring back those 'good ole Summertime' days to 2011.
The three questions were:
What is one thing you can do to make livin' easier?
- 1 - for yourself
- 2 - for your family/ friends
- 3 - for a "stranger"
Grenough purposefully put "for yourself" first because she believes everything really does begin with yourself. "This is not selfishness," she maintains, "it's really wisdom. If I am so focused on outside events and other people instead of me, chances are that my energy will get drained and I will become resentful and/or depressed. That is no favor to the people around me! On the other hand, if I truly notice my needs and take gentle care of myself, this will make me healthier and happier, and I'll have more to give to others," states Grenough.
The answers from the Grenough survey are intriguing. She was surprised by how many no-cost/no hassle ideas people had. The following are a handful of the survey responses. See which ones appeal to you - or if they trigger ideas of your own.
Let's look first at some of the responses about "for yourself":
- From Heidi: "Make plans. Otherwise you will never get to do all the things you would like to do during the Summer."
- Lenny: "Put downtime into my schedule. Make the time, even if it's just an hour, to take my kayak out."
- Angelyn: "Be picky. Do only what you want to do. Don't feel obligated."
- Sam: "Focus more on what I can do with what I already have, and not what I don't have or what I would like to have."
- Ann: "Get out and smell the flowers--literally! Take a walk in the neighborhood. Get those bikes out of the shed!"
- Tony: "Remember it's okay to say 'no'."
- Isabel: "Stress less. Roll with the punches."
- Walter: "Spend more undisturbed time for pondering my own thoughts."
- Bonnie: "Leave dishes in the sink and walk the dog."
In response to question #2 - how make livin' easier for family and friends, according to Grenough almost everyone talked about the importance of two things: 1) simply getting together, and 2) food! Interestingly, all of the suggestions were little or no cost.
- From a guy: "Spend time with friends and family. If you can't find the time, make the time."
- From a lady: "Hang out with your friends and don't worry about how your bathing suit looks on you."
- Another woman wrote: "Plan some simple get-togethers like backyard pot-lucks."
Some of the other responses to how to make livin' easier for family and friends included:
- "Babysit for somebody."
- "Play monopoly or a card game - with kids or grown-ups."
- "Make popcorn or homemade ice cream."
- "Visit an airport with a kid and watch the planes take off."
- "Offer to cut someone else's grass."
- "Bring flowers or vegetables from your own garden to a friend."
- "Find a beach or a park - take your shoes off and walk barefoot."
- "Turn on your sprinkler and run in it with your kids."
If you're looking for ideas for how to make the livin' easier for a stranger, Grenough's respondents suggested these simple acts:
- "Hold a door open for someone."
- "Say 'bless you' after someone sneezes. You'd be amazed at how much a stranger appreciates a small act of kindness."
- "Say 'Hi'."
- "Donate old stuff."
- "Plant a local garden."
Grenough found it interesting that several suggestions for "strangers" revolved around food and shopping, in a similar vein as for family and friends! Those responses included:
- "Help return a shopping cart."
- "Use your courtesy card for savings in the grocery store if the person ahead of doesn't have one - or drop the extra pennies they need on the counter so they stop struggling to find them in their pocket or purse."
- "Let somebody who looks stressed ahead of you on line."
What's the overall message? Grenough says, "Yes, it is Summertime, and the livin' can be easy or it can be hard. Realistically, it's a mix." She adds, "Think of some of those good old Summertime songs- Cruisin' down the river, on a Sunday afternoon, the sun above, the one you love, waitin' for the moon... You gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative - don't mess with Mr. In-Between ... The stars belong to everyone... What comes out on top is it all depends on how you look at it, what you do with your options," concludes Grenough. "The best things in life really are free."
"I smile when I look at the following list because it is so simple, so practical, so do-able," Grenough continues.
- Notice nature from inside and from outside. Hear birds, see the colors of flowers, look at the stars.
- Eat simply.
- Walk slowly no rush, no sweat ...
- Make lemonade, eat popsicles, watch children play.
- Sleep with windows open so that the world wakes you.
- Smell fresh air.
- Wear bright colors.
- Smile more.
- Remember winter and know it will be back again soon enough!
Grenough suggests you take a few minutes right now to jot down your personal action plan: How can I make livin' easier: 1) for me, 2) for my family/friends, 3) for a "stranger". Check to make sure your choices are practical, easily do-able, and - most of all - enjoyable for you. The most important thing Grenough wants all of us to remember is to have fun in these lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer! So smile and remember winter...back soon enough.
If you are ready to put a new perspective on your life and if enjoying your life matters, treat yourself to an OASIS in The Overwhelm. Find more practical and simple strategies in Grenough's book OASIS in the Overwhelm, available at www.milliegrenough.com or www.amazon.com.
Millie Grenough, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, is the author of OASIS in the Overwhelm: 60-second strategies for balance in a busy world and OASIS in the Overwhelm 28 Day Guide: Rewire Your Brain from Chaos to Calm and OASIS en la Adversidad. A sought-after keynote speaker, team builder and retreat leader, Grenough coaches individuals and groups, via webinars, phone, and onsite trainings. Grenough's passion? "To help individuals and groups reach their full potential, while becoming saner and healthier." For more information go to www.milliegrenough.com.
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