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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Little Change Digest - December, 2013

Weekly small change challenges

Week 1 - pay compliments to strangers.

This is a really tough one for me, I am still working on it. I am very shy of strangers, terrified of large groups and of meeting new people. However, in order to overcome my social anxiety, I have been training myself to observe strangers and say something nice, when appropriate.

For example, when I am at the grocery store and the person helping me at checkout is a woman, I always pay attention to her jewelry - earrings, hair clips, necklaces, rings, etc. Usually, I can see something that I can sincerely compliment her on. I also pay attention to the name tags - many people have beautiful and unusual names, and I make note of that.

I am not suggesting that you turn into Polyanna or become creepy. But learning to say something nice to people you've never met, when appropriate, is kind of fun.

Week 2 - - stop negative self-talk.

"I am SUCH an idiot - I can't believe I just did that!" Fess up, people, we all do this sort of thing. This is another tough one. Sometimes, we say negative things about ourselves so easily, we don't even notice.

You know who does notice? First of all, people around you. Especially people who love you. And it hurts them. Because they don't want you to think of yourself as an idiot, but they are afraid if they say something, you'll just brush them off.

Second, your subconscious notices. And it stores this information for a LONG time - sometimes forever. And this keeps building up, and building up, and building up some more - until you become increasingly convinced that you are the ugliest, stupidest, most despicable creature in the world, for no good reason, other than the fact that you have told yourself so too many times.

Stop. Every time you are tempted to say something terrible about yourself, stop. Take a pause. If your need to say something is so great that you can't contain it, rephrase what you say. Criticize your actions at that particular moment - but not yourself. As in, "Well, that was not the smartest thing I've done all day. Why don't I try the other way?"

None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, we all do dumb stuff. But that does not make us dumb - just our actions, the results of a poor decision made at some point. You are not dumb. You are not ugly. You are not horrible. You are not all those other monstrous things you sometimes say about yourself. You are human. If you find your own error - good for you. Now you can correct it. If someone finds it first and points it out to you - don't go flying off the handle, thank them for their help and move on to fix it.

The same goes for your perceived inabilities. It is true that some of us are better at some things than others. But there is a whole range of things that we could be good at.

Week 3 - hold the door.

There are days when I do great at being aware of my surroundings, and then there are days when I appear to be blind and deaf, and just plow right through people. So, while I do my best to hold the door in or out of the building for someone following me, I am not always consistent at it - it's still a work in progress.

That said, I do encourage you all to try and do this on a consistent basis - hold the door for someone, whether they are struggling with a bunch of packages, or a baby stroller, or just because they happen to be entering or exiting behind you. It's a nice thing to do and requires very little effort.

Week 4 - throw out the scale.

Some time ago, I heard someone say, "I have a wedding to go to in three weeks, and I just can't seem to lose enough weight - I am stuck." It was one of the most depressing things I've heard in a long time. First of all, why do you feel compelled to lose weight for someone's wedding? Did your friends invite you to the wedding on the condition that you will be thin? Why not get something fabulous that looks good on you NOW - and go, and have fun, and not give a damn about how much you weigh?

I have read bridezilla stories, when the bride did request all her bridesmaids and sometimes even her female guests to lose weight for the wedding "to look good in the pictures". If that is the case, it's time to end that particular relationship, because your friend is a selfish bitch. And once you have ended that so-called friendship, throw away the scale. There, I said it.

I am serious. Bathroom scale might not be the root of all evil, but it's close. It makes you its slave and messes with your head. Unless it is essential, for health reasons, to measure your weight on a regular basis, get rid of the damn thing. Smash it with a hammer or drop it from a tall cliff. Don't donate it off - if you kill it, it can't mess with anyone else.

If your weight - be it low or high - is not keeping you from being healthy, then forget it. For me, this became a lot easier, when I stopped making my diet and exercise about the weight, and started making it about my health, happiness, and fitness. What a change in attitude that was! Only took thirty years, but hey, better late than never.

Love your body for the amazing thing it is - and love it the way it is now. Feed it, water it, take it out for massages, and dress it well. And the scale can eat its heart out.

Member contributions

On one hand, I am glad that FDA is stepping in. On the other hand, this reveals two problems:

1. Too many people don't do enough on their own to minimize trans-fats in their diet, and so the government has to step in and curb it for them.

2. Too many inexpensive easy-to-make foods (that might be all a lot of people can afford) include trans-fats. Once again, instead of food manufacturers taking responsibility to come up with healthier, more affordable recipes, the government has to intervene and tell them to do so.

This is intriguing... I might try it out... - Heat your room for 8 pence per day.

We were at Joseph A Bank just today and saw the sign for this - awesome idea - Uniform of Success Program.

Adding a step aerobics routine to my morning. Nothing major - just 2-3 songs to get the blood pumping. If you have something that would work as a step - a sturdy flat crate or some such - feel free to join me. I am using a small platform my husband made many years ago to mount floor lights at various events we used to help set up.

Just received an e-mail about this from a former co-worker who is originally from Bulgaria. Disabilities have been ignored for many years in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. So, it's great to see that organizations improving the quality of life for people with disabilities have come such a long way in the last 20 years.

What one person can do.

When people pitch in to help others - a powerful message.

Public service announcements

Recycle in style. Shop vintage at Nifty Thrifty.

Mill Village Farm. We need more of these.

Come and join us on Facebook.

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