Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or anything else, everyone deserves a break by this time in the holiday season. So, the Bambú Clinic Healthletter is also taking a breather from its more serious topics. Hope this healthletter finds you healthy, happy and enjoying family & friends. Here are a few ideas for the holidays that turn the focus from gift giving, food, and spending money to the spirit of the season-random acts of kindness and beauty…
Pay It Forward
Maybe you have seen the movie or maybe you saw the Oprah Winfrey Show. However you came across the idea of “paying it forward,” its merits cannot be denied. Not only does this approach to life create an exponential ripple of positivity, but studies show that true gratitude, the kind that motivates you to act, has a lasting beneficial impact on your moods and on your health.
Stephen Post Ph.D., professor at Case Western Reserve University medical school, and Jill Neimark coauthored a book on this topic, Why Good Things Happen to Good People. The book catalogues all of the scientific evidence, over 50 studies at 44 major institutions, that giving actually improves the quality of your mental and physical health. Among his findings, Post found that giving is twice as protective of your overall well-being as aspirin is to your cardiovascular health. And hundreds of scientific studies have shown that unselfish acts of kindness result in enhanced mental and physical health, increased life span, and decreased risk of suicide and depression.
The principle of paying it forward involves more than just giving someone something another person may want or need. This revelatory idea challenges us to give in a way that empowers the receiver to pass their gratitude on to the next person, and the next, and the next…
Consider these unique holiday gifts in place of the typical tie and channel a little more joy into the world this year. Heavens knows, the world could use it.
Gifts that keep on giving…
Global Giving Gift Card.
With a Global Giving Gift Card, you donate the money and the recipient of the card picks up the cause: sponsoring a girl’s self-defense class in Nigeria, providing vegetable gardens for families in Brazil, or helping with hurricane recovery in Haiti, to name just a few options.
Starting at $10.gifts
Autonomie Project’s Scarf Set.
Keep a loved one cozy this winter with a beautiful scarf, gloves, and hat set handmade by a woman’s knitting cooperative in rural Peru. And you can feel warm on the inside, too, knowing that your couture gift is fair trade. $89.
Give a gift that will enrich your loved ones life, like a national or state park pass, an art or history museum membership, a gift certificate for acupuncture or cranial therapy, a punch card to their favorite
exercise class, or donate money in their name to a charity of their choice or through kiva.org, where you can provide micro loans to small business owners in developing countries.
Pool the money you would have spent on a loved one and go shopping together at a local toy store. Buy games and toys together, donate them to your local shelter.
Here are a few other “green” ideas:
Botanical Paperworks’ Plantable Eco Calendar.
Imagine a world where your paper products leave nothing behind but flowers. Each biodegradable page of this 5- by 5- inch monthly desk calendar is embedded with seeds — simply plant it, and watch it grow. $24.95.
If you prefer to wrap a more tangible gift, before you shop, think about what the person likes to do and focus on something that enhances his/her favorite activities.