Friday, June 28, 2019

When Four Boys Walked into the Fire

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! You made it through another week. Congratulations!

Are you looking for a story about an act of kindness? If so, then this week's post will not disappoint! Today we'll focus on a heroic act that I saw make its way into the national news markets.

Catherine Ritchie, a 90-year-old woman living in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, was getting ready to go to bed one night when a fire broke out in her home. She was in her bedroom and tried to escape, but she couldn't make her way through the smoke to get out. She accidentally ended up in her closet twice instead of finding the door into the hallway. Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been?

Four teens saw the flicker of flames and smelled something burning, and without waiting for an adult to tell them what to do, they raced into action. Three of them didn't even know her, plus, who knew if she was even home? This is incredible to me. They broke their way into the house and found Ms. Ritchie laying on the floor. They carried her out and took care of her until her family could get to her.

Thanks to Dylan Wick (16), Seth Byrd (16), Nick Byrd (14) and Wyatt Hall (17), Ms. Ritchie is alive and unharmed, and all four boys remained safe, as well.

Watch more about it here: 

We talk a lot here about random acts of kindness. I truly believe that small acts throughout every day will help make the world a better place, but I am SURE glad to know that there are those who are willing to be heroic in their acts of kindness and risk their lives to save others. It sounds to me like these boys were just getting ready to go out for their evening fun and didn't even think twice about trying to help a neighbor. How did they know she needed help? What drove them to go inside a burning building? 

Thanks to them, Ms. Ritchie and her family have more time together instead of a traumatic ending. You can read JUST how much impact their actions had in a blog post written by Ms. Ritchie's daughter. Please do take a moment to read the whole thing—it's really moving!

I hope this story gives you some hope for the world and for our youth. This story is just incredible, to me, so I hope you've enjoyed it!

Have a great week! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ 

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Washington Post
Fox31 KDVR

Friday, June 21, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: Don't Curb Your Enthusiasm

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Greetings fellow fortune cookie lovers! It’s that time again: a fortune cookie has inspired a post!

If you’re new here: welcome! If you’d like to know what all this fortune cookie talk is about, please see this post.

Okay, let's get to it. Today's fortune was sent in by a reader:

“Enthusiasm is contagious. Not having enthusiasm is also contagious.”
I don't know about you, but this reminds me to be mindful of how I react to things in front of others.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone told you something they were excited for but you didn't share their enthusiasm? I'll give you an example of a reaction I recently received:

I told people I was excited for a road trip I was going to be taking. My husband wasn't able to go with me, unfortunately, but I was still excited to be going by myself. I enjoy driving and exploring and doing cool things, whether alone or in a group. But when I told people my plans, I was asked by more than one person, "Aren't you afraid to be a woman traveling alone?"

No. I'm not.

Should I be?

(The answer is still "no," in case you were wondering.)

Try not to be a dream-killer by your lack of enthusiasm for something. The person who just excitedly told you their dream, their desire, their new project at work, or their plans for an upcoming vacation...they're counting on you to SUPPORT them. They’re TRUSTING you when they share this info with you. They're happy and want you to share in their joy! Don’t dash their hopes or be less than receptive.

Even if you think something may not be the best idea, be mindful of how you give feedback. Try to do so in a neutral way, without attaching judgment to your comments. Avoid negative or disempowering language.

Or maybe your reaction is because you're a little bit jealous? Or maybe you just aren't that interested. I suppose those are reasons for a less-than-enthusiastic reaction, too.

Whether your negative reaction is due to fear, jealousy, or disinterest, it's time for us to examine the cause from within ourselves.

Since this blog is all about disrupting negativity and injecting positivity, let's take a moment and consider a scenario in which you acted less than favorably toward someone’s news. Consider how you could have reacted differently. Consider how you could have supported them and shared in their joy, or if you had concerns, how you could have reframed your follow-up questions to them. (I'm doing this too, by the way. I'm sure I've reacted negatively to someone, at some point. We're all human.)

If you want to apologize to anybody, that's some super-advanced adulting right there, but it's also enough to resolve not to do this to anyone in future. It can take a little practice to stop having negative reactions, so be patient with yourself as you notice your internal reactions, figure out where they're coming from, and address them.

And on the flip side: if you’re on the receiving end of someone’s lack of enthusiasm, please don’t let it get to you! Someone's negative reaction has more to do with them than with you, most likely. Many people have knee-jerk reactions and don't even realize they're doing it. Someone may even be happy for you on some level, but something else gets the best of them and they don't express themselves elegantly. Try to understand when you are on the receiving end of someone’s lack of enthusiasm that it is not necessarily a judgment on you or your project/dream/what-have-you. Try not to be hurt—but if you are hurt, find a way to let that person know in a way that garners a discussion rather than seeming like an admonishment of their behavior.

We can break the cycle instead of propagating it by choosing not to react negatively, ourselves, to someone else's negativity.

Whatever it is you're enthusiastic about, don't curb it! USE IT! Let that enthusiasm propel you to keep going and do the things that make you happy in life.

Have a great week! ๐Ÿ

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, June 14, 2019

5 Reasons Hugging is Good For You

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

This past weekend was the start of the Three Rivers Arts Fest. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for 11 years and until this past Sunday, I had never gone to this annual two-week festival of art, music, and culture run by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. This year, I promised myself I would go, and I had a great reason to: I wanted to support my friend’s daughter, Lily Harvey, who was performing on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Pride coincided with the festival this past weekend, so there were a lot of people attending both events. While there, I saw several people wearing T-shirts that said things like “FREE MOM HUGS” or “FREE DAD HUGS.”

I thought that was a great idea! I know that some in the LGBTQ+ community have been rejected and disowned by their families for being who they are. Getting a hug from someone who seems like a “mom” or a “dad” may just give them the comfort and strength they need.

Indeed, there was a viral post about this very topic, and if you haven’t seen it yet, please stop reading this for a moment and go read this account, where the writer details moving stories about the people who asked for a hug during Pride. Go ahead—I’ll wait.

๐Ÿงก   ๐Ÿ’›   ๐Ÿ’š   ๐Ÿ’™   ๐Ÿ’œ

Okay, back now? Wasn’t that really touching?

I can’t imagine being rejected by my parents. I’m pretty positive mine would always love me no matter what. But many people aren’t as lucky, and they need our help. Being cared for, loved, and hugged are basic human rights, as far as I’m concerned. (And are awesome ways to disrupt negativity.)

So this got me thinking about hugs in general. I’m a pretty huggy person, so I wondered WHY do hugs help, and HOW do they help us?

I did a little reading on the topic!

Here is my summary of five reasons hugging is good for you:

1. Hugging releases brain chemicals that make you feel good.

When you are hugged by someone, your brain releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These rewarding brain chemicals help cement emotionally positive experiences and help reduce stress levels.

2. Hugging reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.

Studies have been done that show both blood pressure and heart rate are reduced after the act of hugging. Having these two biometric stats lowered also contributes to the reduction of stress mentioned above, as well as less anxiety and a pervasive feeling of calm.

3. Hugging may help fight infection.

With the reduction in stress, your body becomes more immune to infection. A study was done that showed a correlation between perceived social support and the effects of illness, showing reduced symptoms for those who felt they had good social support. And what is a hug if not a physical manifestation of social support?

4. Hugging creates stronger relationships.

It’s said that children who are hugged regularly grow up more secure, confident, and sure of their place in their family. It’s also said that couples who hug and cuddle each other have stronger relationships. Once again, those rewarding brain chemicals help cement a relationship through physical touch. Neurobiologist Mary Carlson studied orphans in Romania in the 60s and 70s and discovered there were negative effects to those who were not hugged or who did not have positive social interactions regularly; these effects included elevated stress hormones like cortisol.

5. Hugging may help reduce pain.

A study was done in which people were exposed to a moderately painful stimulus with and without someone they love touching them. In the former scenario, being touched by a loved one had an analgesic effect. Additionally, another study done on people who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia showed a reduction in symptoms when they sought six forms of therapeutic touch. Hugging is a form of therapeutic touch, is it not? Okay, I know this one is stretching a bit, but hear me out. For instance, just this morning my husband hugged me, and I’m in a full-blown fibro flare, so if he used too much pressure, it would hurt a little bit. But emotionally, I felt much better for having gotten that hug, and indeed, I often turn to him for a hug in times of increased pain. A hug from Fred is my favorite medicine! Those positive brain chemicals and reward circuits are doing their jobs! So while this is anecdotal evidence, at best, I’m going to call it a a legit win.


So with all that science to back it up, I think hugging is an EXCELLENT way to combat negativity! It’s simple, it costs nothing, and it can put a smile on someone’s face again. Why not offer someone a hug today? Not only would you help someone feel better, I bet it would help you, too.

As for those people at Pride who were willing to offer comfort to complete strangers with a hug, once again I am SUPER proud of my city for showing such compassion. You have my mad respect, Pittsburgh!

Until next time, be happy! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Gottman Institute
Elite Daily
The Telegraph

Friday, June 7, 2019

Five Steps You Can Take to Stop Limiting Yourself

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

So there I was, getting ready for my day, when I looked up on my wall and realized I'd forgotten to switch my calendar from May over to June. I really am terrible at doing that until about a week into a new month. =) 

Anyway, when I did, I really loved this month's message, so I wanted to share it with you all. Let it inspire you: 

I can really relate to this. I had, in the past, a tendency to tell myself "no" when I desperately wanted to say "yes" to what life was offering me. 

Sometimes we blame others for why we don't do things we want to do. For instance, if you really wanted to backpack across Europe, but your family balked at that idea because they feared you'd be hurt while traveling, would that stop you? If it did stop you, would you forever resent them for it?

That's not really fair to them OR to you, though. Perhaps you could have addressed their fears, planned the trip a little differently, and still gone backpacking. But someone else's fears have nothing to do with you, really. That's THEIR fear—NOT yours. If you choose not to go backpacking in Europe because of what someone else said, and you didn't find some way to do it in a way that helped everyone feel better about it, well, that was your choice. That's all-or-nothing thinking, and it's flawed. At the end of the day, by engaging in all-or-nothing thinking, you are the only person stopping you from doing the thing you really want to do. 

It's time to switch things up and stop stopping ourselves from achieving our hopes and dreams and then blaming others for it. We all have agency and independence to live the lives we want. Yes, we may have obligations and responsibilities and all that...but we still have agency and choice in everything we do.

Limiting ourselves is a form of negativity because it does not allow us to live a happy and fulfilled life! Now, I'm not saying throw caution to the wind and just do whatever you want without consideration for others, but I think we can always strive to live the lives we want within the framework of our families, jobs, and responsibilities. We can find balance and still go for our dreams.

So where do we begin?

Imagine having infinite possibilities at your disposal if you were just open to them. Imagine something you really want to do, and then consider how you can make it happen. If you find yourself saying "I should" (or "shouldn't"), "I can't" or "I don't know how," note it, then discard it and reframe how you're talking to yourself. Replace that self-limiting talk to more open language: 

I can...
I will...
I know how to...
I am capable of...

It can take a little practice to get used to  your new language skills as you go. But words are really powerful tools, so let's make them work for us by breaking the concept down into an easy-to-follow five-step process: 

1. RECOGNIZE when you're limiting yourself. 
Listen to how you talk, either internally to yourself or to others, and note how many times you do that in a day. Take a few days to just observe yourself and your speech patterns. You may be surprised to find out JUST how much you do limit yourself through your speech! 

2. STOP using limiting language. 
After a few days of listening to yourself and understanding your limiting patterns, promise yourself to stop using it. If that means you have to stop and start your sentence over, do it.

3. CHANGE the language. 
Instead of "I can't," change it to "I can." Instead of "I have to," change it to "I get to." Instead of "I don't know how to..." change it to "I will figure out how to..."

4. BELIEVE you can make it happen. 
Belief is so important to change. It doesn't take much effort, though. Use your imagination and see yourself doing the thing! Remember pretending when we were kids? Recall what it was like to see yourself doing something, and engage that part of your brain to see it happening.

5. ACT on your belief and make it happen. 
Let's use the backpacking trip as an example: you could register for a class in personal safety/first aid, go shopping for backpack supplies, do research on the internet about best ways to backpack across Europe, apply for your passport, find out what travel cell phone plans will keep you in touch with the world if you need to be—any number of small actions will eventually add up to achieving your goal or dream.

Next time you're feeling negative, defeated, trapped, or limited, find a quiet place and take several deep, cleansing breaths. Then repeat after me: 

I am relaxed and open. 
I am ready to welcome new opportunities, experiences, and ways of thinking about things. 
I am willing to change my thinking to emancipate myself—instead of being limited, I feel limitless.
My life has room to accommodate my hopes and dreams.
I am empowered by my own language to do anything I can dream of.

Keep your eye on the prize (and this list of steps handy), and the possibilities are limitless! 

I hope this has given you some inspiration! Have a great week, everyone! 

Want some more inspiration? I've picked a few great books for you, below:

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Reflections on 2020

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  It’s finally...