Caring Connections, Self-Care

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

We have passed the Spring Equinox.  The days are growing longer than the nights, the sun is warming the earth, and flowers and animals are returning.  And yet, we humans find ourselves in a unique situation trying to re-find our natural balance in life.  Some are searching for their “new normal.” With so many people under stay at home orders, we are seeing nature is in fact re-finding its balance.  There are animals returning to places they haven’t been in a very long time. The dolphins and swans have returned to the canals of Italy, elephants are roaming free through garden groves in India.  Other changes, like pollution being lowered all over the world because of the closure of factories and people not driving hours to work and home every day are also brightening our outlook about this pandemic.  But what of our own balance? Most of us have had to make major changes to our daily social routines.

Being Social

Being Social

Humans are social creatures.  And with such a task as self-isolation and social distancing being required of us, we find ourselves in new uncharted territory.  But humans are highly adaptable. And people are finding ways to be social even while home and practicing social isolation and social distancing. We are seeing a return of community that we haven’t seen in a very long time, perhaps not since the invention of television. People are walking their dogs, playing with their kids or siblings in the front yard, riding their bikes, and visiting lakes and beaches.  People make it a point to say hi from their porches and introduce themselves from a distance. On a nice day you may see people tinkering in their garage or with their cars, playing cornhole on the lawn, or flying a remote-controlled helicopter. In more rural areas, people have a chance to ride their horses, visit lakes and streams and fish, and hike.  In cities we are seeing folks singing and exercising with each other from their own balconies. Musicians are doing balcony performances. And almost everywhere, family members in different households are video chatting and sending letters to each other.

It looks like we are indeed re-finding our natural balance during difficult times. We are staying connected, staying social, and getting closer, in the midst of social “distancing.”

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, 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. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Action, Children, Scholarships, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Scholarship Themes: Social Media and Bullying

Scholarship Themes: Social Media Anti Bullying

Unified Caring Association (UCA) has scholarship opportunities for U.S. students each year. Each submission that arrives brings excitement and smiles. We are so happy to read about these caring students who share their ideas for a better world. Some of these essays share life stories that reflect how these caring ambassadors help bring more caring into the world. Recently, we began celebrating the various themes that surfaced in essays submitted by students across the U.S. Our first theme was equality. Next we want to thank and cheer those who wrote about social media and anti bullying. We are happy to share some of the essays. These essays have caring quotes that reflect the theme of social media and preventing bullying.

Madeline Chalecki 

Madeline Chalecki

“My grandfather is an 80-year-old, Jewish, politically conservative man living in rural Maine who spends his time watching and reading the news. And because he is constantly consuming alarming news about murder and crime, he has become scared and closed-minded. It has made him into a person that makes judgments about people of color, is fearful of immigrants, and comments on the “inner cities crumbling into poverty and crime.”

I live over 2,000 miles away in an urban neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. In my daily life, I am surrounded by people of different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, immigration status and perspectives—but with the same frightening news. The contrast between my grandfather’s views and mine has made me recognize the impact that sensationalized media has on its viewers. If I could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, I would change the way the media represents people and current events.

Sensationalized media makes the world seem dangerous by disproportionately portraying negative and violent events more often than positive news. When we are bombarded with that kind of information, it closes our minds and makes us fearful of each other. It is easy to get wrapped up in sensationalized information from the news. When we see more violence than kind acts, we begin to think the world is more aggressive than caring. We become isolated and fearful of people different than us, causing us to become less empathetic, less compassionate, and less caring.

I believe that if the news, as well as other media like Facebook and Twitter, showed a less sensationalized, more accurate view of people and world events, we would become more caring and compassionate towards one another. External forces pull us apart, but they can also bring us together. I would change media reporting to report crime with simple facts, not opinion or hyped up information. I would make it so media talked about crime in a proportional rate to the actual rate of crime. We see more bad than good on the media, but there is more good than bad in real life. I would also want to add a segment to all news channels of positive news about people each day. I know that many news channels have something like this, but it is often irrelevant or uninteresting. Finally, I would want to make social media a less divisive platform by creating pages for open conversation and positive news.              

People work tirelessly all over the world to make powerful, progressive, and positive change. I want to create media that includes information about people from Korea to Sudan to Mexico working hard to positively impact communities. I believe that if the news had these new elements, people would be more curious about each other, open towards one another and more hopeful about humanity in general. People could connect over similarities, not just differences. Sensationalized news creates division and fear, but approaching media differently could have the opposite effect. To make the world a more caring place, I would create media that brings us together, portrays the good side of humanity as well as the areas that need improvement. News can become a powerful tool to make the world a more caring place.”

Emily Lindberg

Emily Lindberg

“To make the world a more caring place, the first thing that I would change is disabling the “anonymous” feature on news sites, web forums, and social media. Anonymity is a dangerous game to play because it makes people immediately more ruthless, which then leads to a toxic online environment. Forcing people to put their names on their posts would immediately change the quality of material that was getting posted.

With the continuation of advancements in technology, paper news sources are almost totally obsolete. As a result of this advancement, websites are getting saturated with comments, many of which are tactless and inconsiderate. This effect is amplified by the rise of “anonymous” commenters – it’s as if by taking someone’s identity out of the public eye, they are given permission to tear down others since nobody can tear them down in return. Reading the comments on a news site is like watching vultures circle and subsequently attack an innocent animal. As soon as somebody sees a comment they disagree with, their claws are out and they have no shame in tearing somebody else down.

Social media does nothing but exacerbate this effect. In allowing the public to share their opinions without having to put a name to what they say, platforms are allowing some true colors to shine, which, in a lot of cases, is not a good thing. Racist, homophobic, and bigoted opinions are running rampant over the media. Cyberbullying is on the rise and, as a result of that, suicide. When people are given the opportunity to be anonymous, sometimes good things can happen. But when so many opinions are swirling around, it’s hard to not get sucked in or take things personally.

By removing the publics’ ability to be anonymous, we would force everybody to own up to their opinions and have them face consequences for the things they say that impact other peoples’ lives. Free speech is important, but not so much that it can destroy somebody to the point that they take their own life. Anonymity is toxic. The public can have opinions, but if they choose to share it, their name should forever be stamped on it. The world needs to see people for who they are, not what they post. In-person interactions are never going to be the same as an interaction in the comments section of a YouTube video, so why wouldn’t we change the parameters of the comments section to reflect how people would interact in real life? Human contact is fundamental to our health, but if we are constantly ripped apart on social media because somebody decided to go anonymous, where is that contact that we needed?

Making the world a more caring place requires a lot more changes than this one. But I think that disabling online anonymity would be a start, because it would change the interactions that happen on the Internet, which is where a lot of us spend a good chunk of our time. Society can be good, but we have to make the change that allows them to do good and be seen.”

Kaitlyn Wong

Kaitlyn Wong

“My legs took small strides as I walked towards the lunch table. As I scanned the large cafeteria, I couldn’t help but notice the people already sitting down. Every one of them were on their phones. It wasn’t like there was no one for them to talk to. Their friends were sitting right in front of them, but there was no communication. What has the world come to? There are people that could provide the same entertainment, company, and joy, as their phone but instead, everyone chooses to divert all of their attention to a small rectangular device. If I could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, I would have people put their phones down and experience the world by interacting with others.

The average teenager spends about 9 hours a day online. Phones and social media have taken over societal bodies as if everyone is now under its trance. The first thing some do is wake up and check their phones. Everyone is guilty of this, even myself. Instead of going straight to our phones, we should make an effort to go straight to our parents and say the simple phrase “good morning.” Talking and spending time with family and friends would ensure family connections to become greater and friendships to become stronger. In one of my personal experiences, dedicating time to see my grandpa has been more important than ever. He has been restricted to his bed for about 10 months now, and with school, there is little time during the weekdays and sometimes weekends for me to see him. My mom has resorted to FaceTime, but the physical connection becomes absent. When I do get to see him, I try remaining off of my cell phone to treasure the time around him. Spending time with him made me realize that family bonding is important, and with the use of cell phones, this restricts the development of a strong bond. Talking to them, or just the holding of hands, is a symbol of care that we just can’t achieve over technology.

Looking at the world through phones is extremely different from a set of eyes. Instead of being fixated on a screen for hours on end, we can make meaningful impacts on others’ lives. Take for example, volunteering at a food bank. We can meet new people and experience the feeling of giving and making a difference in someone’s life. Personally, when I first entered the food bank, I didn’t expect to be impacted or make much of a difference. I was only there to complete the volunteer hours needed, but after going through the motions of what the workers do for a living, I loved the feeling of being able to help distribute essential needs to families in need. Seeing the dozens of families outside waiting for their weekly grocery earnings, I realized how blind I’ve been to the situations in our world that I didn’t experience or see personally. With the constant use of technology, people no longer see what surrounds them.

Putting our phones down allows us to experience the world. Our phones are like our barriers to interacting with others in a meaningful way. Breaking down this barrier is tough but essential for a more caring world.”

These amazing students bring joy and kindness to the world! We are happy and proud to be able to help support them and their continuing education. We have more themes than social media and anti bullying. Other themes that we will be blogging about are awareness and empathy. We look forward to sharing more themes and essays with our caring community. Thank you to all of our scholarship applicants, you truly are caring ambassadors!

Want to read more about UCA 2019 scholarship winners and get an extra dose of positivity on your news feeds? Read our other caring scholarship blogs, scholarship blogs on gratitude. Or follow us on social media: Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We are looking forward to sharing more with you!

Caring Connections, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Caring Communities to Help Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying

BlueUp

In most communities there are times when we are faced with challenges, negativity or bullying. The internet has not been spared from this, especially on social media platforms. This newest form of internet harassment is often referred to as cyberbullying. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) want to help source tools and share resources to help others and our children learn the skills needed to stop current forms of bullying and prevent any future bullying from happening.

Cyberbullying History

Bullying and forms of hate or discrimination have been around for most, if not all of human history. With the advent of the internet in the 1990’s there came a new form of bullying: cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to harass, trash talk, or bully a person. Often times this is typically done by sending messages that can be intimidating or threatening in nature. One of the first pervasive examples of this is seen through Monica Lewinski’s experiences. At this time her private life became public, and people began to ridicule her as fast as a wildfire in dry grass. Since then she has become a prominent anti-bullying advocate, even giving a strong TedTalk on the subject.

Cyberbullying has become a more common issue in households and schools, especially for children and teens. Often we hear about messages that are hurtful or degrading left on one or more kid’s social media account from their peers. This begs the question: what tools and organizations can we turn to to help our children dispel cyberbullying?

Stomp Out Bullying

UCA has aligned itself with Stomp Out Bullying, a leading national nonprofit that dedicates itself to changing to a caring culture for all children. This organization works to prevent and reduce bullying/cyberbullying. Also Stomp Out Bullying educates people against LGBTQ discrimination and racism in an effort to deter violence in schools and in communities (online and offline) across the U.S. This organization teaches effective responses and solutions to bullying, cyberbullying, etc. They do this using in-school and online education programs for kids and teens. In addition to their education programs, Stomp Out Bullying provides help for people in need or at-risk of suicide. They raise awareness through public service announcements, peer mentoring programs in schools, and social media campaigns.

#BlueUp

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Every year the first Monday of October is World Day of Bullying Prevention™ where students, communities, and schools raise awareness by wearing the color blue. Stomp Out Bullying has unique blue shirts to commemorate this day and further bring this national challenge into the spotlight. But, we can all just unify under the color blue to show support as well. This strong unified voice will help the world hear and see that our culture needs to change to be more caring. This is the 12th year that Stomp Out Bullying has began this quest and they have a wonderful slogan for their shirts: ‘Make Bullying History.’ This event will help “…speak for all of our youth who are tormented by bullying, cyberbullying, cruelty, hatred, racism, homophobia and LGBTQ discrimination…[we] stand together to MAKE BULLYING HISTORY!” (Stomp Out Bullying)

Unified Caring Association is constantly striving to help create a more caring world. We love sharing more caring information and resources on our website and through blogs that share caring in our community, activities, and reviews. We also send out caring posts on our social media accounts (Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter) to give inspiration throughout the week. 

Caring Connections, Scholarships, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Scholarship Award Winners Target Use of Social Media

Spreading Positivity
Spreading positivity through caring essays.

Unified Caring Association (UCA) loves helping people of all ages. We see this each year Unified Caring Association holds scholarship contests to help college bound students. This year for one of the scholarships we asked high school juniors and seniors to write short essays responding to the question, “If you could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, what would you change?” We received hundreds of applicants and noticed a trend in some of the responses. Many scholarship award winners targeted the use of social media. 

These impressive teenagers want to help make the world a better and more caring place by limiting social media exposure. Their common drive is to help prevent the spread of negativity and cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is similar to bullying seen outside of social networks. When we Google search the word ‘cyberbullying’ the definition is, “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” 

Not all online pictures and interactions are negative. There are a fair amount of positive and caring posts online. It is as Cameron M Russell states at the beginning of his essay, “The portrait social media paints of the world can be a beautiful and elegant painting or could be a gruesome and unjust picture…” And this is echoed by Eva McCauley when she states that “… it gives zero insight to how someone’s life actually is.” When there is a disconnect from reality, which we see through the facade of social media and the lack of interaction with people and peers, there is a delay in mental and emotional development that allows for a person to treat others with compassion. Many of the essays submitted also give a remedy for this: true face-to-face connection over digital interaction. “Social media affects one’s identity and empathize (sic) face to face interaction” (Adamaris Cruz Santiago), this is a way we can share our own authenticity. 

In recognising the authenticity of others as well as our own we begin to see others as human. We will begin sharing human experiences. We believe that Isabella Peluso says this in a wonderful way. This movement  “…would allow the world to be a more caring place through people connecting more in the real world and catalyzing a shift towards change instead of just acknowledging that it needs to happen.” In this positive and caring shift we would see people promoting and celebrating kindness, and caring in all forms of communication. We would also see an increase in celebrating diversity. Kassandra Ruiz mirrors this in her essay. She states, “This is why I believe that if we teach students different cultural traditions and morals, they will understand that everyone is unique and that they must accept each other in order to become successful.”

Acceptance of everyone’s individuality is a key to making the world a better, more caring place. And this shows why acceptance is so important. Through this we will all become more successful and happier people. This is achieved through caring acts and words, personal interactions, and supporting and celebrating diversity. With all of these in mind, things like cyberbullying will be reduced or even eliminated. What a wonderful world we can make! And this quote from the last part of Cameron M Russell’s essay exemplifies how was this caring consciousness can be, “…every step I take and every post I’ll make is to feed my positive energy to the world and my job as a human is to take care of my home and the humans on it.”

We are so proud and moved by all of the essays that were submitted for the scholarships. Thank you to everyone who submitted their essays. If you would like to read more of the submissions for this scholarship, visit our Unified Caring Association’s website. Then click on the Scholarships tab to read scholarship submissions. For further reading about UCA scholarships, we have a blog titled, UCA & Scholarships. Or to read more about making the world a better place, check out our other blogs on caring: How to Improve the World By CARING and It All Starts with Self-Care.

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.