Volunteering Is Good Medicine

volunteering good medicine

Volunteering is like a happiness pill. At least that’s true for Ruth, a recovering addict who lives at Knollwood Place, an apartment building for older adults in St. Louis Park. Ruth likes going to what she calls her “happy place” — helping others living in the building with recreational outings, special lunches, and other activities. She also likes helping adults with disabilities and children with Down syndrome at nearby community organizations. “It’s such a gift for me to volunteer,” Ruth says, even contributing to her sobriety and peace of mind. “It’s a distraction from the merry-go-round in my brain. I … Continue reading

The Benefits of Giving Unconditionally

giving unconditionally

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill Some might say that giving unconditionally is the path of true abundance. Stepping beyond our self-interest and thinking of others is a gift in and of itself, especially for those in recovery. It is not only scientifically proven to make us happy, but it is also recommended by some of the world’s greatest leaders, spiritual and religious figures, and psychologists. I spoke to recovery scientist, researcher, and therapist Austin Brown about the benefits of giving unconditionally for people in recovery. By … Continue reading

Choosing Joy

choosing joy jumping women

You ever have that day where everything is going great, you’re excited for the day and then something comes up that just throws off everything?! A text, a call, something someone says to you… Lovely. Now my perfectly good day is ruined. All thanks to one person. One thing. You know what I’m talking about? I think we all actually go through experiences like that daily, but the one thing that differentiates one person’s experience from another’s is a thing called choice. In those hard moments we all have a choice to make. You can either let that person or circumstance dictate … Continue reading

Developing a Forgiving Attitude Sets You Free

forgiveness

David Richo, in his book, The Five Things We Cannot Change, claims that we must accept certain realities.  Among these are: All things change and end. Things do not always go according to plan. People are not loving and loyal all the time. Pain and suffering are a part of life. Life is not fair. I will add some additional realities. All of us will inevitably make some mistakes.  We will sometimes hurt someone else, and also ourselves. We have all experienced pain and disappointment because others have either intentionally or unintentionally hurt us.  This might include parents, siblings, teachers, … Continue reading

Beating Bitterness

overcoming bitterness

Recently a convicted felon wrote columnist “Dear Abby” lamenting he was “on a one-way trip down a road that leads nowhere.”  The man said he felt hopeless about his future behind bars and signed his name “Inmate on a Dead End.” A few weeks later, another reader of the column wrote to say: “I want ‘Inmate’ to know that one is never beyond hope.  Prison may be the best thing that ever happened to him—it was for my husband.” She signed off as “Proud Wife in New Jersey.” That proud wife explained her husband is “living proof that you don’t … Continue reading

When Good-Hearted Men Marry Selfish Women

“The Knife and the Wound Both Need Each Other.” — Sheldon Kopp, Psychoanalyst and Writer I’ve been married to Laura for 25 years and I’ve never been able to please her. We go for a period of time with things going well between us. Then out of the blue she gets bent out of shape over some imagined worry that preoccupies her. I understand that I may not be the most sensitive husband at times but Laura goes nuts and exaggerates how bad things are between us and rants for hours. She slams doors and usually wants nothing to do … Continue reading

In a World Without Empathy

world without empathy

Imagine living in a world where no one is capable of understanding anybody else’s feelings. In such a world, someone could grasp how you feel only if he or she had exactly the same experiences you’ve had. If they hadn’t had those experiences they would have no idea what you are talking about. Consequently, you’d likely feel all alone in your solitary circumstances. Of course then you would have no way to feel loved since the experience of true love is about someone else accepting us as we really are and not for how we match up to their expectations. … Continue reading