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Be Good

Three ways you can be a better person…
Let’s take the world’s current state – dumpster fire for the most part – and use it as inspiration to be a better person. If we all try to be kinder, gentler and more uplifting, maybe we can create a small but hopeful wave of positivity that’ll move us all to a better place.
And to successfully mitigate the negative news that explodes every day, you need to be grounded, says Toronto-based life and leadership coach John Mackay. Work on cultivating your values, and not only will you reap the rewards of being an even better human being but the world around you will benefit, too. To keep it simple, here are three ways you can be better.
Exude positivity
We can’t all be as chipper as Kimmy Schmidt. But you can be a more positive person if you take matters into your own hands, says Mackay, who proposes that you start with counting your blessings and being grateful. “Please don’t zone out now. It’s how your mother might have put it and she was right. Make time to remind yourself of what you’ve got, what you’ve created,” says Mackay. He suggests actually sitting down and making a list. “It can be a game-changer.”
Learn to forgive
If holding on to a grudge and letting deep-seated anger fester is your M.O., learning the power of forgiveness will feel like a new lease on life. Even if the offence happened a long time ago (say, your old roommate never paid you back some money or your brother bullied you for a chunk of your childhood), tucking away those hurtful memories can eat away at you and affect your life now in subtle ways. How to be more forgiving? Start by cultivating a sense of empathy: remember that the person you’re holding resentment against is going through their own life’s struggles too. “Forgiveness is tough because I think it means we accept or condone the behaviour we are asked to forgive,” says Toronto-based psychotherapist Lauren Wolff. “Look for what is going on with them and ask yourself if it’s really about you or them. Everyone has baggage; everyone is a mess. It’s about embracing the mess and working through it.”
Be more giving
When people think of volunteering, the emphasis is often on how the effort of giving time or money will help others, but the act of volunteering is hugely beneficial to you, the volunteer, too. It can lower stress, be a source of physical activity, provide a social network and be a confidence booster. Ultimately, working on your gratitude (see above about how to have a more positive outlook) can help inform what type of giving you personally will find most rewarding. “I’ve seen people make terrific decisions about how they’re going to give of themselves to causes and organizations they care about through the simple act of stopping to think about what they’re grateful for,” says Mackay.

KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.

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