The Minnesota Bridge Disaster 07: Becoming Heroes

Photos of the collapse horrified us, stories of survivors made us cry in relief and tales of ordinary people becoming heroes uplifted us. We feel grateful for their swift acts and wonder: “What would I have done in a similar situation? How much risk would I have taken to help?”

World disasters make us publicly cheer for the rescuers and survivors and often privately long for the exhilaration and high of “doing good,” of being important.

You don’t need to save lives in order to perform everyday goodness and feel better about yourself. We all want to “matter in the world,” but opportunities surround us.

Helping others helps us reduces depression, social isolation and low self-esteem. You may not feel the intensity of pulling someone out of a well or fire or concrete rubble, but kindness and good deeds can make you feel wanted, needed, important and valued.

Here is a short list of how you can create everyday goodness and positive feelings about yourself.

  1. Write down the birthdays or anniversaries of friends and family on a calendar. Send e-cards or snail-mail cards.
  2. Contact someone you’ve been longing to know again. New Years or your birthday are good “reasons” to explain to the person why you have contacted them “out of the blue.”
  3. Volunteer. Pick one or two agencies or events where you’ve wanted to help.
  4. Compliment someone.
  5. Tell the manager of a store or service how much you appreciated the help of one of the associates.
  6. Go through your closet and shelves and give away things you don’t need. Make sure these items are in good condition.
  7. Write a thank you note to a friend for “just being your friend.”
  8. Make your own list of positive things you’ve always wanted to do for someone or organization.
  9. Do something good for yourself that you’ve been putting off out due to your fears.
  10. Change one very small and manageable part of your behavior that you’ve needed to change. For example, skip dessert two nights a week. Or smoke less cigarettes on two days. Increase the number of days. Remember, in order to think big, you have to start small.

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Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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