Every year one in four families are affected by mental illness yet budget cuts and stigma continue to keep people away from adequate treatment. Every year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Southern Arizona serves thousands of local residents through advocacy, support and educational programs. All free of charge.
NAMI of Southern Arizona is just one of the many non-profits in our community that serve people with mental illness totally free of charge. Your donation to the organization is tax deductible and a great way to show you care in this season of giving. Please visit the website at www.namisa.org where you can easily donate on-line.
Other ways to show you care about the people in your life: From the “World of Psychology” by John Grohol, PSYD
1. Do It, Don’t Say It.
You know that old common wisdom, “Actions speak louder than words”? Well, it’s true. While you can apologize for not doing something until you’re blue in the face, you’ll gain so much more appreciation by another in your life by simply doing it in the first place. Yes, it means you have to work harder to keep on top of things to begin with, even with simple things like taking out the trash or running that errand you said you would. But the reward is that your loved one will know you care because you just did it without being asked or reminded to do so.
2. Refuse to Argue and Pick Your Battles.
Arguments are a constant source of relationship strife, even amongst family members or friends. You may say, “How can I just stop arguing?” Easy, because engaging in a conversation with another person is a choice we make (whether we always do so consciously or not). Make a conscious effort to note when you’re entering into an argument, and then just stop. Remember, not every argument is worth engaging in — so don’t feel like you have to get into an argument just because someone else is asking for one. “Sorry, I can’t talk about this right now, let’s talk more about this later…” or “You’re right, I’m wrong, I’m sorry” will put a sudden halt to the argument. Which leads us to…
3. Apologize Often, Even If You’re Not Wrong.
Why should you apologize even if you’re not “wrong?” Well, it depends on your point of view. Is being “right” more important to you than your loved one’s feelings? Is being “right” something you’ll be proud of when you’re on your deathbed — “Well, hell, I may have caused her a world of hurt, but at least she knew who was right!” Apologies are simple, free, and entirely within your world of control. Handing them out just as freely and easily will, in the long-run, make you feel better and also make your loved ones feel better. It shows you care more about them rather than winning any particular (all-too-often, silly) argument. (As with all things, when taken to an extreme, this is also not particularly healthy behavior, but do know when to pick your battles.)
4. Do Something Unexpected.
Most people love a surprise, especially when that surprise is something that helps them or makes their life a little bit easier, if just for a minute. It could be as simple as a card to show appreciation “Just because,” or offering to watch the kids one night when it wasn’t your turn. It could be saying, “Hey, I’ll cook dinner tonight” or “Hey, I’ll take out the trash,” and then just doing it. Even simple actions can speak volumes, especially if the other person has had an especially difficult day. Imagine if it were your night to cook but you’ve had an especially difficult, stressful day. Your significant other knows this, and offers to cook instead. It’s a great expression of caring, even when it may seem too obvious or simple.
5. Sharing is Caring.
Sound trite? You bet it does, but guess what, it’s also true. It’s so much easier to eat the last cookie, or to get a glass of water just for yourself. But it shows you care when you offer someone else the last cookie or ask the other person if there’s anything you can get them while you’re up. Simple acts of kindness are the ones we so easily overlook in everyday life. Yet they speak volumes to others in our lives.
6. Wake Every Morning with An Appreciation for The Other Person.
Being grateful for the people and things in our lives is one of the most simple ways to achieve a sense of daily happiness. You don’t have to engage in huge displays of love or affection. Simple actions, like saying, “I love you” or packing someone’s favorite lunch may be all that’s needed. Often time, living with someone day in and day out can breed a certain familiarity (or, as the old saying goes, “contempt”). Keep that in mind, acting in a manner consistent with someone who loves another, not someone who is keeping silent score. Even if your partner never knows it, it’s a way of showing you care that can be just as important as any outward, direct display.
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Showing you care to those in your life on a regular basis is more challenging than it sounds. The people we hold closest and dearest to us are often the ones we expend the least amount of effort in displays of caring and affection. Yet, most people appreciate and need the occasional display of caring.
It’s not hard, but it does take a conscious effort on our parts, and one that we may need to remember to do at least once a week, if not every day.