Custodians of the Caring Movement

4 Ways to Make Your Life Easier and More Fulfilling

We’ve been told that “life is hard.”  We’ve been told that marriage is “hard work.” We’ve been told that “nothing ever comes easy in this world.” Truth? Or self-fulfilling prophecy? 

It’s probably more accurate to say that an easy life can be elusive, but that’s quite a bit different than saying it is strenuous or difficult to achieve.

Finding a parking space is easy – but only when they are in abundance.  When an empty spot is elusive, it becomes harder.

soul body mind emotions in balance

But there are 4 ways to make your life easier and more fulfilling.  And the greatest minds have concluded that they center around the quality of our life on an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual level.  The surprise? Each is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships.

Good Relationships Keep Us Happier and Healthier

Now before you say: “great partners, like parking spaces, can be hard to find,” don’t think of relationships in the strict sense of a lifetime companion.

What is your relationship with your neighbor? Your community? Those in need? What is your relationship to exercise? Alcohol? Pets? The interior life?

Family, loved ones, and dear friends are absolutely part of the relationships in your life, too, of course.

But the common thread is that true fulfillment in relationships is about genuine connection.  This is one of the most satisfying joys of becoming a Custodian of the Caring Movement. Authentic community ties are some of the most enduring.

relationship connections, who to call or text

Tell Us Something We Don’t Already Know

Okay, so you may not be astounded to learn the importance of relationships.  But if we already know this, why do so many of us struggle in this area?

Are we treating the most important relationships in our lives properly?  Are we giving them the time, attention, and priority they deserve?

Do you know a lifelong friend who would think nothing of putting in a 70-hour workweek, yet they can’t “find time” to check in with you?

Or have you caught yourself (when stressed out) showing less patience and grace toward a life-partner than you’d ever show to a complete stranger?

Move from Deadlines to Lifelines

So many things in life are urgency-driven, but have you noticed that relationships almost never are?  In fact, they’re almost always the first part of our lives that we neglect until we can “find the time.”

Everyone wants deep, meaningful relationships.  But most think it’s a daunting or time-consuming goal. 

Building more fulfilling relationships every day is easier when you realize one fundamental truth:

The very thing that makes you feel happy or fulfilled isn’t the relationship itself, but the interactions within that relationship. 

The Custodian Connection

Custodians of the Caring Movement understand that the best path to enjoying fulfilling relationships is through meaningful interactions and consistently connecting. Just the act of expressing care to self and others – by putting caring into action – is all that is required.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, either. Moving the Caring Movement forward and reaping its rewards can be as simple as a friendly smile. A short note of appreciation. A wave. Saying “thank you.” A word of encouragement. Patience in line for coffee.

None of which is difficult.  Especially if you choose to see, feel, and consciously become aware of where there is a need – and then step up.

Small and Simple = Happy and Fulfilled

Being an active part of the Caring Movement isn’t about money or overwhelming commitment. It’s about  consistently delivering small and simple experiences that leave those in your orbit feeling genuinely uplifted.

One of the best ways to begin is choosing to give voice to the positive thoughts you have in your head. That’s right.  Instead of allowing them to evaporate, say them out loud! Don’t cheat yourself out of a valuable opportunity to move caring forward and enrich your relationships at the same time.

The world needs to hear that you care – now more than ever.  There is no doubt that you’ll make the recipient of your caring thoughts feel better. And in turn, their emotional response will give you an incredibly fulfilling sense of happiness and satisfaction as well.  When you raise someone’s spirts, you uplift your own at the same time. Wonderful, isn’t it?

You Care When You’re Aware

The last step in a more fulfilling life is a simple shift in awareness. The key is becoming more intentional. Getting into the habit of being aware of a positive thought and giving voice to it – as long as it is genuine, and you really mean it.

Most Custodians of the Caring Movement will tell you that it quickly becomes second nature to recognize or compliment someone they know.  And yes, if you’re shy and can’t voice it, you can certainly text it or e-mail it.  Action is what matters!

Caring isn’t just a holiday-time-of-year thing. It’s a day-to-day part of who you are.  Who WE are.

Simple, caring interactions are at the heart of Caring Movement and the foundation for meaningful relationships. And those very same relationships are the roadmap to an easier and more fulfilling life. For everyone.

By Mark Smith, contributing author

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caringresilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

Benefits, Caring Connections, Health, Self-Care, Unified Caring Association

Volunteering for Health

volunteering

Volunteer-health

Have you ever felt so good after helping someone else? If so you are not alone! There are so many ways to volunteer your time and skills to help others while giving yourself the gift of self-care. Unified Caring Association (UCA) gives more than three cheers for volunteers. 

Volunteering does more than we often think!

When we give our time and knowledge through volunteering we feel a ‘helper’s high’. This phrase was coined by Allen Luks. He defines this as “…the sense of euphoria that can be experienced soon after helping someone else.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) During this ‘high’ there are two phases. The strongest is the first phase. This phase is characterized by an uplifting and euphoric mood. This is followed by phase two where there is a longer lasting sense of calm. This is almost like taking three big, quick breaths for the mind! What is most interesting is that “..the greatest effect (the high) was observed in helping strangers.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) As when we talk about meditation and or mindfulness activities we see a reduced risk in depression. We infer that the same positive effects happen during volunteering activities as those of meditation and or grounding yourself in nature.

How else can volunteering help us?

Along with creating a healthy, caring social network “…volunteerism was associated with a markedly lower risk of dying. Depending on the study, the decrease in death rates ranged between 20 to 60%.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) This lower risk of dying can be linked to how those who volunteer take care of their own personal health. Often times those who volunteer make a larger effort to take care of their well-being. An example is regular preventive care visits to their doctor.

Sharing caring through connection

When we are volunteering we are likely exerting “…its positive health effects by connecting people to others and to an activity that they find meaningful. Achieving connection, purpose, and meaning is critical to attenuating stressors of life—particularly loneliness. Since stress is a major cause of disease, especially heart disease, the ability to quench the need for connection, purpose, and meaning can bring about beneficial and salutary changes for people. And when there is [a] purpose and we are connected to others, we take care of ourselves.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM)

When UCA held a recent scholarship contest. One of the questions asked was in regards to if there is one thing you would change in the world, what would it be? We are still moved by one response written. This was by TiAnna Olivas. She writes, “Volunteering not only has a positive impact on the people and organization, it reshapes the way you view life as well. Volunteering provides the opportunity to meet new people, gain new experiences, and make a productive influence on the world around you…I have gained so much from my personal experiences with volunteering. I volunteer with the local pantry and the people there are so kind and have taught me so much. Volunteering with them, I have witnessed how they live an abundant life, filled with making the people around them happy. I strive to be like them, being a light in this dark world. (https://www.unifiedcaring.org/tianna-olivas/)

Let us at UCA help you with ways to volunteer!

Unified Caring Association has suggested resources to begin, continue or expand volunteering. One resource is the National Volunteering Caregiving Alliance. Through this network members can connect to about 700 communities throughout the U.S. This network is to help provide volunteer caregivers by connecting community programs and organizations to those in need.

A second resource available for UCA members is access to The Corporation for National and Community Service. This organization plays a key role in supporting the culture of service in the U.S.A. It is here that you can find a volunteering opportunity. There are so many volunteer categories, the sky’s the limit! For example we could search for volunteer opportunities in food banks and soup kitchens, collecting clothing and items in need for the homeless, or spending time assisting the elderly.

Volunteering word cloud, heart concept

In short, volunteering is not only helpful to those you are spending time with, but helpful in our own self-care journey as well. Let’s give many cheers for those of us that spend time volunteering. Thank you for all you do!

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Caring Connections, Scholarships, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Invest in Others to Make a Caring Impact

To show you care, invest in others.

If you are looking for a way to make a difference today, start with those at arm’s-length! One small change we can all make to create more caring in the world is to thoughtfully carve out some time and energy to invest in others. When we acknowledge and take time for others we let them know that they matter. The simple act of circling back to check in on someone can make a great difference. The daily act of making eye contact and listening with our full attention are also purposefully caring acts. In the end, we create more caring connections and everyone is better for the experience.

Invest in others to make a caring difference. 
quote Caleb Joshua Cox
Scholarship winner
Invest in others to make a caring difference!

What truly connects us?

Modern technology has completely changed our methods of communication and connection in the past ten years. As a result, you might expect this generation to feel differently about making “in person” connections with others. After all, it’s easier to text or instant message someone at your convenience rather than pick up the phone or make the effort to go and visit someone. But, have we created a societal problem by introducing technology into our relationships? It seems that each new report from the Pew Research Center shows increases in online usage, and smartphones. The utilization of technology to create and manage relationships has become the norm. Suffice to say, with so many of us online, there are many opinions on the effects of technology on human interactions. However, the one thing we all seem to agree upon is that there is no substitute for direct human connection.

Unplug for a better connection!

Most people will agree that an emoticon will not ever be able to convey the joy of seeing your sister’s baby for the first time, nor will it appropriately express your sadness over the loss of a loved one. Yet, the selection of emoticons has become part of a modern day communication strategy. Instead of placing our efforts into being at the side of a friend who is in need of support, people are putting their effort into the selection of the most appropriate GIF and calling it a day! But, truly caring for one another requires that we show up in person and give of ourselves. That’s something no emoticon or GIF could ever accomplish! When we invest in others we create a better connection than high speed internet could ever provide!

Pay attention! Put down your phone! Invest in others to show you care. quote Elaine Yan
Put down the phone, and give your full attention!

Students are asking us to unplug and invest in one another.

Unified Caring Association asked high school students what one thing they would change to make the world more caring. One scholarship awarded essay entry written by Caleb Joshua Cox reminds us of the importance of investing in each other. Caleb’s essay makes a heartfelt case for the value of tenderness and true human connection and caring. He encourages us to share our time and knowledge with those around us to make the world a more caring place. Another scholarship awarded essay written by Elaine Yan asks us to seek freedom from the distractions of social media, and demonstrate our caring by giving each our full attention to others. Notably, the stand out essay topic in UCA’s most recent scholarship contest was the negative effect of social media. We are relieved to see that our next generation understands the value of investing the time to connect with others.

To learn more about UCA’s most recent scholarship round, read our blog Change One Thing To Create a Better World.