15 random acts of kindness

How many times do we want to be helpful, but don’t know what to do? Through the years, I’ve found out that some simple acts can be perceived as particularly positive and can have a great impact on other people’s lives. Remember: what doesn’t look like a great change to you may mean the world to others.

So, I’ve decided to make this list of random acts of kindness that don’t have that much of an impact on your day, but can improve someone else’s life. None of these requests for a lot of time, and many can be done within half an hour: no more excuses to make the world a better place!

Keep reading for ideas:

  • Smile at people when you walk past them on the streets. Not one of those creepy smiles strangers give you at times, but a genuine, simple smile. You won’t make someone’s day, but can for sure improve that moment.
  • Pick up trash. Heroes don’t get rewards: take care of the environment and pick up trash on the streets. You will be helpful to your community and will suddendly live in a cleaner space.
  • Put positive notes on mirrors. Whether you’re at home or in a public toilet, it will take you 2 minutes to come up with something nice that will definitely make someone’s day.
  • Always say please and thank you. You don’t need a reason to be kind: recognize people’s favours and thank them for their help.
  • Call your grandparents or a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Do you remember that big smile on your grandmother’s face when you were a kid and spent the day with her? Don’t forget about her and call once in a while.
  • Bring chocolate to a friend who’s been really busy lately. Ask yourself what you would appreciate in moments of intense stress and do it for your friends. Chocolate is just an idea, something that I personally would appreciate a lot and that doesn’t ask for a lot of time.
  • Cook a meal for your family or for your housemates. If you want to be extra, ask them about their favourite meal and cook it, otherwise just make them find a warm meal when they come home from work or from school.
  • Bake cookies for a friend. Baking always is a fun activity. Bring the cookies over to a friend and eat them together with them.
  • Do all the housework by yourself. Make your parents or housemates find a perfect house when they come home, they’ll surely appreciate it.
  • Donate stuff you don’t use anymore. There are clothes you’ve bought years ago that still find place in your closet, but you haven’t worn for ages. Donate them, someone will surely appreciate what you don’t need anymore.
  • Walk or cuddle a pet. Not only will you exercise and relax, but it will make the pet feel loved too.
  • Write a kind text message to someone. It will take around five minutes and will make people feel extremely valued and loved.
  • Send anonymous flowers. People love flowers, they light up the house and contribute to the positive vibes.
  • Buy a little present for your siblings. Remember them they’re loved by buying something you know they will like.
  • Volunteer your time. Whether you’re giving out food, clothes or helping kids with their homework, it will be totally worth it: not only will you help people in need, but you’ll also master new skills and learn to listen. You can find an article on why you should totally volunteer your time here.

Do you have other ideas or suggestions? Feel free to write them in the comments below!

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Morning habits to start your day right

When you don’t feel like getting up, the struggle is real. Here is a list of 10 habits to start your day with full energy and keep yourself productive through the whole day: let’s start!

  • Get up early. How earlier, how better. Waking up early allows you to prepare yourself for the day and to wake up together with the sun.
  • Don’t snooze. When your alarm rings, no matter how you slept or how tired you feel, you must get up. You don’t wanna be late, and you don’t want to lay in bed the whole day. Come on, open that window and smell the coffee.
  • Drink water first thing in the morning. You already know how important it is to keep yourself hydrated. Take care of your body and drink water after a long night of no water.
  • Make your bed. Making your bed gives you a good feeling about the room, and gets you in the mood of doing useful stuff.
  • Work out or meditate. Working out boosts your mood and makes you feel full of energy for the day. Working out in the morning is also more effective than doing it during the day.
  • Wash your face and/or your body. Make sure to wake yourself up through a cold shower, and wash off the fatigue.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Though it’s not true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it still covers our need of energy for the morning. Make sure to nourish your body: prefer fruit, smoothies, yogurt, dark chocolate and wholegrain bread to snacks and heavy ingredients. You can find a guide on how to eat better here.
  • Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and proud of yourself. Looks aren’t everything, but they help. Make sure to wear something that makes you feel at your best and walk proudly into the office. You can find a guide on how to reorganize your closet and make sure you’re wearing what fits you best here.
  • Boost your mood with music. Music is great to start the day right. Listen to it while you get ready or drive to your workplace and sing along if you feel comfortabe doing it. Want some suggestions for music? Here are 5 songs for social change.
  • Repeat a mantra. Believe in yourself and remind yourself what a beautiful person you are every morning. Try something like this: “I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come. I’m grateful for who I am, what I have and the people I’m surrounded with. I’m working on myself, for myself, and I’ll succeed in improving who I am and in reaching my goals.”

How to deal with depression

This surely is a difficult topic, but I find it extremely important to spread knowledge about it. In this article, we’ll explore strategies to deal with the most common of mental illnesses.

To know more about depression itself, read this article which I previously wrote about symptoms, definition and perception of depression in our society.

This is a little guide in ten steps on how to deal with an enemy as depression:

  • Reach out for help. This is really important: don’t try to overcome depression by yourself. You deserve help and acceptance. Get into therapy, look for a good psychologist and talk to them about your problem. Talking to someone who’s there to listen to you is the first step to heal.
  • Forgive yourself. You weren’t able to get that mark you wanted because you felt too exhausted to study. You know what? That’s ok. Your mental health comes before your grades, before your job, before standards.
  • Rest when you need to. You see your friends partying all the time and your collegues working so hard, while you can’t help but sleep. That’s fine, you’re fighting a hard battle, fighting depression asks for a lot of energy.
  • Don’t force yourself. If you don’t feel like going out today, it’s okay. You don’t have to prove shit to anyone, take your rest.
  • Remember that a bad moment shouldn’t ruin your whole day. If you lay in bed for three hours, that doesn’t mean you cannot grab your coat and go for a walk now. Remember that you are in control of your time.
  • Look for activities that bring you pleasure. It happens, at times, that what we enjoyed before depression doen’t seem that cool anymore now. That’s ok, we’re individuals that are made to move, to change. Try out new stuff, and spend time doing what you love. Here you can find a list of activities worth trying.
  • Apply the previous point to sex. If you’re sexually active, but don’t find pleasure in sex anymore, that’s also ok. You don’t have to force yourself into something you don’t feel like doing. Talk to your partner and look for new romantic activities to do together with them.
  • Reward yourself. Recovering from depression is like training to win a marathon: reward yourself for every extra mile.
  • Whenever you feel down, make lists of your qualities. Try writing a list of the things you’re capable of and pointing out at least ten qualities. Write another list and point out what you were able to achieve in your life and are proud of. Write a third list and add your goals for the future. Remember yourself why you want them so bad.
  • Remember you worth. You’re strong, brave and deserve the world. You will overcome this, reach your goals and have the life of your dreams. Don’t give up.

A look at depression

I’ve decided to write this article because of the fact that I was diagnosed with depression earlier in my life, and had to face a lot of stereotypes and difficulties regarding social awareness. Whether you’re the one suffering from it, or you’re looking this up to better understand a friend or relative, I think it’s important to spread information and acceptance of this mental illness.

First of all, what’s depression? It’s a medical illness, which negatively affects the way you think, feel and act.

It’s relatively common in our society: one in six people will experience depression at some time in their lives. On average, it first appears during the late teens to mid-20s, but it can strike at anytime.

The main symptoms of depression include:

  • feeling sad
  • loss of interest in activities that we once enjoyed
  • changes in appetite (eating too much or too little)
  • troubles sleeping or oversleeping
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • loss of energy
  • feeling worthless or guilty
  • thoughts of death and/or suicide

These symptoms have to last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression, and don’t have to be present all at once to indicate depression. If you find yourself in these symptoms, please don’t remain silent, talk about it with a loved one and ask for help.

If you have a loved one whom you suspect is suffering from depression, here are some steps you can take to help them.

What I find interesting is the impact depression has on people’s lives and the way they’re perceived by society.

So, who are depressed people? Are they dangerous? Are they annoying? Are they, in any way, different from the rest?

Depressed people are often people who don’t stand out, who are not dangerous and, most of the time, who are really clever. Depression affects the way people think and act, but doesn’t make the ones suffering from it any dangerous or annoying people. Here are some traits that people who suffer from depression usually have in common:

  • They lack energy: they will cancel plans and/or pretend they’re busy all the time to get a little bit of rest.
  • They lack motivation. They usually won’t be able to accomplish the goals they set, due to their lack of motivation.
  • They pretend they’re fine. Depressed people don’t like to admit that they’re feeling sad, and will make up excuses to justify their silent behaviour at times.
  • They have low self esteem. Depressed people don’t see themselves in a positive way, and therefore will make jokes about their personality and/or don’t believe in themselves at all.
  • They keep silent or point out really deep stuff. People who suffer from depression will most likely avoid deep conversations or have a huge part in them. They’re people who like to observe, and this will lead to them pointing out really interesting stuff or stay silent and keep it for themselves.

Apart from these points, which by the way aren’t common to all people suffering from depression, those fighting it are usual people. They’re fighting a battle inside themselves, that takes up energy, time and courage. If you have a friend who’s suffering from depression, remember it’s not that they’re lazy or cannot take things seriously: fighting depression in exhausting, and they’ll need your support at times. Don’t leave them alone in this battle.

Would you like to know more or have something else to share? Write it in the comments below.

How to reorganize your closet

As you know, the purpose of this blog is to provide a safe place for all. So, along with analysis of mental illnesses and tips on how to deal with various problems in life, I’ve thought it useful to write a piece on how to reorganize your closet, a decision you usually make when starting again or, more commonly, when you need to get your life together.

Below, you’ll find ten tips to have a completely different closet and simplify your life.

  • Get rid of the items you don’t use anymore. When I say “get rid” I don’t mean you have to throw them away: try selling them on particular sites for clothing and accessories, give them to a friend or donate them to those in need. This way, not only will you free yourself from stuff you haven’t used in over a year, but you’ll also make some money out of it or help who’s less lucky.
  • Make a list of what you need. Avoid buying every piece of clothing you like, instead make a list of what you absolutely need in your wardrobe.
  • Discover your style. A lot of people basically conform to the general fashion of the period: be different. Discover items and piece f clothig from different years and decide what to keep from today’s fashion. Don’t be afraid of wearing 80’s fashion if you like it, being ourselves is what makes us cool.
  • Write down what the basics are for you. There are some pieces of clothing that are useful in different occasions and we should always own. For example, invest in an elegant dress that fits you well and you can use in different occasions. Also, remember not to underestimate owning at least one elegant pair of shoes and, on the other side, a pair of boots.
  • Go shopping for what you need with a friend. A friend you trust is absolutely necessary when buying new clothes. They’ll help you find out what fits you better if they’re honest, so ask them to be. Inform them about what you need, and ask them to stop you from buying unnecessary stuff.
  • Be informed about the new styles. Not because you have to buy all the new stuff that comes out, but because you could discover some interesting pieces that complete your wardrobe, or help you develop your style.
  • Organize your wardrobe so that you are able to reach everything and can visualize your clothes without difficulties. Keep the underwear in a drawer, together with the socks, and hang the dresses.
  • Don’t put dirty clothes back in your wardrobe. I know this may seem obvious, but if you still do it, please stop. Dirty clothes need to be washed, no matter if it’s a little stain or a big one.
  • Question your style at times and don’t be afraid of change, but, at the same time, question yourself when you feel like buying a new piece of clothing on whether you really need it.

10 habits to make your life better

Getting stuck in a place is one of the worst things to experience, in particular if it’s a psychological state. Most of the time, change is actually possible through little steps to better yourself day by day.

  • Eat better: you don’t realize how much of an impact eating makes on your life until you start eating better. You can find out how to change your habits meal by meal here.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is such an underestimated aspect of our life. Most of the time, we don’t understand the importance of having a regular sleeping schedule and the benefits it can have on our bodies. Sleep is the battery we have to recharge, it’s a moment to let our mind relax and run free and it contributes to a large variety of bodily functions.
  • Learn a new skill every month. If food and sleep are important for the body, learning a new skill every month will help your mind stay young and focused on your life goals. You can find a list of underrated skills that will better your life here.
  • Drink more water and less alcohol. I know, your friends drink and you can’t refuse champagne at a party, but try to keep alcohol for special occasions. Alcohol alters your bodily functions, while water is necessary to keep you at your best.
  • Move your body. Your body is made to be moved. Your mind quits a lot earlier than your body does: kick yourself out of the sofa and go for a walk, you will feel a lot better after it. Consider scheduling at least three workouts/walks every week, ask a friend to start a new sport program together.
  • Declutter your house, your car, your desk at work. Throw away all those unnecessary things that you’ve kept “just in case” and have used once in the last three years. Clean your wardrobe, donate those clothes that you don’t use anymore, you can also try to sell the ones in good conditions to a second-hand shop and get some money out of it.
  • Focus on a big goal. Choose a goal that’s important for you to accomplish and focus on it. Invest your energy in a long-time plan and put all your effort in achieving that big goal. Three years from now, you’ll thank yourself.
  • Plan your days. Planning your days will help you stay focused on what’s important or what you actually want. It will help you avoid distractions, manage your time and put you ahead of work. You can find out how to write an effective list of goals here.
  • Set internet controls. It’s difficult, at times, to keep track of the time we waste on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, the web is a beautiful place if you use it wisely, but how often do you find yourself scrolling through instagram or facebook? Reduce the time you spend that way and invest it on a new hobby.
  • Read a new book every month. Your mind needs to be fed, and reading is a great way to do it. Choose books of the topics that you’re interested in the most and, in the beginning, try to force yourself into reading. Remember it takes 21 days to build a habit: don’t quit. You can find a list of great books to read here.

10 underrated skills to learn

There are a lot of underrated skills that will help you into adulthood, and are definitely worth knowing. If you’re looking for something new to learn, here is a bunch of stuff you may be interested in.

  • Learn how to cook. It may seem a clichè, but cooking actually is a really relevant part of life. Not only does it help financially, since you don’t have to always go out to eat, but it can also get very pleasant at times. What are you waiting for? Buy a new cook-book and try out your first recipes.
  • Learn a new language. Learning a new language may take a bit of time, but it will help you keep your mind trained. Language also shapes the way we think, speaking more than one language will help you be more open-minded. If you’re interested in this topic, consider taking a look at this Ted Talk.
  • Start journaling. Journaling is an art, it helps you relax and think about your day at the same time. Like that, it enables you to become creative and to get to know yourself better. You can find a guide on how to keep a journal here.
  • Learn how to write. Writing is something we’re all capable of doing, but how often do you actually write for yourself? Take a course of creative writing, or start trying out different styles. You could begin from a diary and, later on, switch to tales and poetry and, who knows, maybe a novel one day.
  • Learn how to do taxes. I have to confess that I myself cannot do it by myself yet, but I’m planning to learn it someday. It might actually take a bit of time, but it’s something worth understanding in the world we live in.
  • Play a sport. Sports are important to keep you busy and assure you a healthy body. Hit the gym, join a basketball team, run a marathon, I don’t care, get out of your house and move your body.
  • Learn new communication skills. Educate yourself on how to have good conversations. You can find a lot of materials online, such as Ted Talks and mini-guides. Practice what you learn with your friends and see the positive effects that it has on your life.
  • Educate yourself on geopolitical issues of the time. Keep an eye open on actuality and the world news. Humankind needs people who understand the roots of contemporary facts and consequentely know how to act.
  • Understand how to be useful in your community. Volunteer your time, take part in a rehabilitation program and get to know the value of being useful to someone. Believe me, it will help you completely change your views and open your eyes on reality. You can find more reasons why you should totally volunteer your time here.
  • Learn how to take care plants. Plants are a responsibility, not a huge one, but still a responsibility. If you can keep your plants alive, water them daily and make sure they get enough sunlight, you’re at a good point on becoming more responsible.

10 tips on how to journal

Journaling is a great activity: it helps you get creative and think about your feelings and emotions. It reprents a moment in which you think about yourself, and allow your thoughts to get alive.

On the other side, journaling can get hard at times: when you lack inspiration or feel overwhelmed, writing or sketching something on a page can become difficult. In this article, you’ll find a few tips to help you through these moments.

  • Take inspiration from a magazine or a newspaper. Magazines and newspapers are great tools to organize the visual layout of your pages. Don’t just copy something, but try to rielaborate it through your own visions.
  • Use pictures, post-its and sketches to fill up the space. At times, what we have to write just doesn’t cover two whole pages. It’s ok to use stuff that’s not completely related to your topic, it’s your journal, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
  • Don’t stress over something that’s not perfect. Nobody’s perfect, we are all humans, and perfection is an ideal noone will ever achieve. It’s ok if your writing isn’t as cute as usual today, or if your sketch didn’t come out the way you wanted it to. Art isn’t perfect, and that’s what makes it meaningful.
  • Choose a main color for every page. Colors are what makes your journal visually attractive. Whether it’s black and white (yes, I know they actually aren’t colors) or pink and yellow, colors attract people and please the eye.
  • Go floral. Don’t set limits to flowers: they keep you in a good mood and help you fill up space, they’re easy to find in magazines and nice to draw.
  • Put some effort in the typo: change it from time to time, try out different styles and don’t be afraid of using colors and forms. Working on the typo is actually really pleasant: it helps you relax and keeps you busy while processing your thoughts and organizing your ideas for the pages.
  • Take inspiration from your surroundings and the people you meet. Inspiration comes from the most different elements: from a feeling, a smile, a landscape, an object. Don’t underestimate anything and value every little thing of your surroundings.
  • Listen to some music and sit outside while journaling, or sip some coffee, it will all help you get into the right mood and let out that little madness that’s typical of an artist.
  • Don’t force yourself into journaling if you don’t feel like it. Trying to fill out your to-do list is great, but remember that, at times, you just won’t feel like doing anything. Rest, get out with your friends, watch TV, it’s ok not to always stick to your plans.
  • Don’t be afraid of trying. Write the poem that came to your mind yesterday, draw that female figure: who care if it’s not perfect? It’s your own journal, your own choiche. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, you cannot improve without experience.

10 steps to gain control of your life

This is something that has happened to me a lot: I had dreams, I had goals and I had ideas, but I had no clue how to build my own life and finally take control of my time. Luckily, after a year of preparation and tests, I was selected to go abroad for a year. My routine got broken down and I had to rebuild it all little by little in another country. When coming back to my homecountry, by the way, I had forgotten what my routine looked like before leaving, and, once again, had to find ways to form a new one.

Now, after a lot of meditation on the changes that have turned me into the person I am, one of the things that I underline the most is the interruption of a non-effective routine I had chosen for myself. By it, I don’t mean that we all have to spend a year abroad in order to change our lives, but I’m really convinced that breaking our habits is a great way to start.

Here are the ten most effective steps I took in order to take control of my life and finally achieve my goals:

  • Define your goals. This may look like a stupid start, you’ll probably be questioning yourself on why you’re still reading this article, but what I ask you is to simply take a moment and think about your goals for real. Do you have them all figured out? Can you actually see who you want to become? The reason I decided to start like this is that a lot of people have a vague idea of their goals, but never really took the time to think about them, and, I believe that’s irrelevant to say, you’re not going anywhere if you don’t know where to go.
  • Write your goals down. Different researches show that writing down your goals makes you more likely to accomplish them. I’d like to highlight, anyway, that writing your goals on paper helps you analize them in an objective way and, consequently, decide if you’re willing to spend your time and, often, your money, to achieve them. You can find help on how to write your list of goals here.
  • Do something everyday to get closer to one of your goals. You know what? You’re not going to get where you want by sitting on the couch. You’ll have to work hard and sacrificize something in your life in order to be successful. Tomorrow is already too late, start now.
  • Stop wasting time. I don’t want to make you anxious, but you don’t have plenty of time. If you don’t do what you need to now, you’re going to regret it later. Toxic relationships and a job you hate are, in fact, a waste of time. It can be hard to get out of a toxic relationship, especially when you’re still in love or when you have hundreds of memories with that person (this also applies to friendships). At the same time, it can be hard to quit your job, when you don’t know what the future will look like, but let’s talk about dreams: is this what you have always wanted? Is this the life you were dreaming about? Believe in yourself: you’re a strong individual, you’re going to be alright even out of that relationship. There are plenty of jobs out there waiting for you, apply for a new one. You have the power to change your life: make changes happen.
  • Take care of your body. Your body is as important as your mind, the Latins were right: “mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Eat nutritious, clean food, commit to that workout routine, do whatever works for you, but don’t understimate your health. Know your worth.
  • Feed your mind. Your mind needs to be fed just as much as your body needs to. Switch the TV off and read that book. You can find a list of narrative books that will help you see the world with different eyes here.
  • Listen to your soul. You can be the smartest and most beautiful person on earth, but, if you don’t keep your soul green, no flower will grow from it. Take time for yourself, meditate, take a yoga course, heal your wounds. Spend some time alone, listen to yourself: find out who you are and where you are right now.
  • Work on your self confidence. You can find tips on how to improve your self confidence here. Remember that you are the first one who should believe in yourself.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. You have to be in a great environment if you want to have success. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your choices and are always there to support you. Cut off all the toxic relationships in your life, you don’t have energies to waste.
  • Remeber to rest from time to time. It’s great to work hard, but remember that work isn’t everything: put yourself in the first place and know when it’s time to stop. Challenge yourself, but don’t forget your needs.

7 ways to write effective lists of goals

Do you ever write down a list of goals but get just half of the work done? Keep reading: in this article we’ll find out how to write goals so that you have no other choice but to accomplish them.

I’ve always loved making lists, and, in particular, lists of goals, but somehow I often ended up with so much stuff on a page that crossing off half of it was the best I could do. Lately, some new ideas came to my mind, and actually worked when I tried them out.

  • Divide your goals into urgent and non-urgent ones. Start by listing the ones that you absolutely need to accomplish.
  • Choose three goals from the first category. Don’t fill your days with useless stuff, think and act in a smart way.
  • Select one important goal and get it done. Write it at the top of your page in capslock or in whichever way catches your attention. Remember that this is what you’re going to be the most proud of at the end of the day.
  • Make a list of stuff that you never get done and insert one of these goals everyday into your daily list.
  • Try to figure out how much it will take to accomplish the things you’ve written down at this point and add less important stuff that you can still get done by the end of the day. If you have a job interview, remember that you can find ten minutes to do the washing-up when you get home.
  • Divide the big goals into smaller ones and get every part done on different days.
  • Plan in advance. Remember that you cannot get a hundred things done on the same day. When writing lists, take into account the fact that you’ll probably need to rest a bit during the day and will have to make small changes in order to make the best out of the week.