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29-Day Giving Challenge

Giving

Several years ago, I read a book that opened my eyes on how much impact the act of giving could have.

29 Gifts by Cami Walker

Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early thirties. She took the advice of a healer and friend of hers, and decided to give away something every day for 29 days. Cami describes her journey in her book 29 Gifts.

I was so inspired by Cami, that I decided to join her online community and I wrote down every night what I was giving away (the notes could remain private).

You don’t have to give something material each time: for example, offering your seat in a bus to someone else is also an act of giving. The important rule is that if you miss a day, you have to restart the 29 day cycle.

The exercice requires to be conscious every day of the act of giving, and writing notes helps reflect on what happened during the day.

How the giving challenge can help focus on positive thoughts

At that time, my work was quite stressful and it was challenging to commit to such project. Giving is not that time consuming, but you still need to make sure that you think about it every morning.
Day after day, the challenge became easier and Cami’s team did a great job communicating with the members.

The community website shut down for a while but this year, a new community has been created on a different platform. I haven’t tested it but the interface does not look as user friendly as the previous one. The old site also provided calendars and templates that you could download as support for your notes. The new website does not have those resources anymore.

However, you don’t need anything to start your 29-day giving challenge: only have the intention every morning to do your act of giving. And at the end of the day, write down what you did.

Focusing on positive thoughts and the joy of helping others changed my mood and how I would perceive life. I was still having the same amount of work but my thoughts changed focus and the stress level went down.

I also felt (or was more conscious) that lots of good things were happening during those 29 days. For example, one evening at a business event, there was a draw and I won the first prize! It was a $100 donation to be used on the globalgiving.org website. How good was that?

Since then, the giving challenge never left my mind and I try to promote it when I have the occasion… such as now!

Have you ever been inspired by a book that made you sign up for a project?

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Empathy

Have you ever had friends, partners or co-workers who wanted to talk to you about a problem and you did not know how to react? The video below can maybe help you understand that you don’t necessarily have to solve a problem but just to show that you are there for the person.

Or have you ever felt disappointed by a close person because you thought that she or he did not care about your issue or made you feel worse? Don’t judge that person too hard because not everybody knows how to react in front of someone else emotion.

Dr. Brené Brown explains in the following video that empathy fuels connection. Her description of empathy is so simply illustrated in this video that I sometimes send it to people in case it can help them.

Click here if you prefer watching the video on the YouTube website directly.

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The August Break

OHSTheAugustBreak2014

For the month of August, I joined a community project organized by Susannah Conway: The August Break 2014. The goal was to live the moment with creativity. During the whole month of August, we were given a prompt by email every day so that we could take pictures related to the given topic.

The project had no strict rules and all the topics were also provided in advance on Susannah’s website but to add a little bit of challenge to myself, I made a point to wait for the emails that I would receive every day around midnight to know about the theme, in order to shoot the photograph of the day.

It was not mandatory but we could also share our photographs within the group. This was a great motivation to stay on track with providing a photograph per day and to remember about looking around ourselves, even during a busy day.

Are you doing a similar project?

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Five minutes

To be able to spread happiness around you, you also need to treat yourself well: do something you like for five minutes every day.

To help you start, open your agenda and write down your action items for the seven coming days. If you use an electronic calendar, you can also set a reminder for each day.

After a week, review your agenda to see if you were able to achieve your goal. If not, find out why.

If you were able to do your daily activity: congratulations! Will you then be able to continue the exercise every day?

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OHSOrchid

When we get caught into a busy life, it is easy to forget about our surrounding and the time that passes by so fast. Photography is a simple activity that helps slow down and change our mind.

Even if you feel that you don’t have the time, take few minutes today to look around you and try to take at least one photo.

What about you: what helps you slow down and seize the day?