North Ottawa Wellness Foundation
Helping Self, Helping Others
Helping Self, Helping Others
“Human beings are hard-wired to connect. The ‘helping self, helping others’ concept is such a powerful idea. Serving others through giving, advocating and volunteering is as good for ourselves as it is for those we serve.” – Patrick Moran, President, Greater Ottawa County United Way
As we train ourselves to tap into the Relaxation Response, we create a moment, a pause, between the moment or experience that is creating stress and how we choose to creatively respond to that stress. Airlines across the globe teach us with each flight to put on our own oxygen mask first, before helping small children around us. How often do we practice this wise strategy? Are we truly helping our coworkers, clients and customers as we run from project to project on little sleep, operating out of the stress response, fueled by unhealthy food options?
- Observe Yourself – How am I navigating the current stressors in my life? As I calm my mind, tap into my Relaxation Response and see moments and experiences in my life more clearly, I begin to see the helpful habits that support my well-being, as well as the unhelpful habits and unskillful practices in my life that detract from my long term health.
“If you miss the look in your child’s eyes one day, you’ve missed it. If you miss the look in your lover’s eyes the next day, you’ve missed it. If you’ve missed the beauty of sitting under the trees, you’ve missed that too. If you add that up over many moments, and then, many days and years, you may wind up missing the most beautiful aspects of your own life. Who tells oneself they don’t have any time, when really, all you’ve got is time? All you’ve got is this moment.” – John Kabat-Zinn
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
The best thing we can do to support the needs of our family, our professional organizations and our community is to be the brightest, most content and vibrant version of ourselves. Howard Thurman said it best, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
How are you inspired to help others? We are blessed to live in a highly philanthropic, community service-oriented community. With endless opportunities to give back to our community, which ones best feed your passion? Makes you come alive? Fits your current schedule? Your ability, at this moment in your professional and family life, to give of your time, talents and treasure?
“Underneath everything we are, underneath everything we do, we are all connected, interdependent, united. And when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.” – United Way
To truly give back, to support a positive change that will help others in our community, we first and foremost want to, as Ghandi suggested, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” How do we each and every day be the kind of person, spouse, parent, child, co-worker and employee that we would most like to see in our family? In our workplace? In our community? Simply take care of yourself, your health and well-being, and take one small step closer to being that person. This is how we contribute to our community. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Do what is right for yourself, put on the oxygen mask – learn to navigate the stress in your life, get proper exercise, movement and quality sleep, be sure to eat clean, nutritious foods. Then, you are in a vital, healthy position to step out and help others.
Did You Know?
The United Way offers our premier, easy to navigate, volunteer connection through Live United.
Here you can explore opportunities to align your passion, that which makes you come alive, with current needs in our community. All United Way funded programs are well-vetted by trained teams of volunteers, So you know you are participating in a high quality opportunity to do good in our area. And, for every $1 you give, $3.70 in community benefit is received in Ottawa County.
Boost Your Immunity
Harvard Medical School recommends the following practices to strengthen your immune system:
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
Get outside each day you can, drink in the sunshine, absorb some Vitamin D. Move your body, limit stress and get a good night’s sleep. Favor fruits and vegetables. As Harvard Medical school reminds us, “Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.”
Are We Really Living in the Present?
Turn off technology and focus on loved ones.
A Grand Haven Tribune article written by Tracy Wilson
Simple Tools for Helping Self and Helping Others
At work – Pause and listen to others. Notice, am I fully present in my own life, so I can be present and truly hear the innovative idea, concern or wisdom of my client, customer or co-worker? Wait a moment longer before speaking to be sure the other person has completed their thought, their idea to share.
At home – Be present. Set aside 10 minutes to focus solely on your spouse, child or other loved one. Put down the technology and just be present, be available to share ten delicious minutes with the loved ones in your life.
Just for you – Use your five senses to become very present with a moment. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of where you are in that moment. Present moment awareness is simply that – bringing awareness to what abounds all around you, in this moment. Be present for yourself each day. Spend a moment asking what you most desire to add to your life – physically, professionally, emotionally, spiritually? What gift, talent or quality of yourself is yearning to be expressed?
Curious for More?
See what resources our community partners have to offer.
The United Way
Ottawa County Volunteer Center
Get Involved, Make a Difference.
Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Your community hub for all things philanthropic.
The Chamber of Commerce
Share best practices and learn about events that impact the business community.
Shape Fitness Factory
Mindfulness Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness, Shape Family Wellness Program.