Creating a #LancHappy Life
The following is a guest blog from LancHappy contributor Ashley Belsinger. Ashley provides a variety of life coaching and self-improvement services through her business, Paragon Life Coaching LLC. She has a B.A. and Masters of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Lancaster is ripe for cultivating a rich and thriving life. The culture is one that values altruism, community, and well-being. In 2012, data from Gallup’s annual survey of national well-being showed Lancaster rating as the number one best place to live for well-being. How does this translate to thriving? Research shows that giving to others is related to feeling more positive emotions, relationships and a sense of belonging are associated with happiness and longevity, and well-being is a huge factor for quality of life. Since we’re in this opportune environment for creating our own stellar life, how do we take advantage of it?
Pay it Forward—not just with $
To reap the benefits of giving, it’s best to be able to see and experience the value of what we’re contributing. For this reason, volunteering and organizing a drive or event to increase awareness about a cause are ways of giving that offer you and the recipient more positive feelings than just writing a check. These actions are not merely giving; they are acts of kindness and caring to benefit someone or a cause. For example, for The Extraordinary Give this fall, aside from writing a check, see about volunteering at the event or at one of the over 300 area nonprofits. If organizing a drive, be involved in giving the items to the recipients. These ways of giving can help us feel more grateful, as well as feeling good about giving back, the impact we’ve made, and being part of something bigger.
Being involved in the Lancaster community is one way to forge meaningful and enjoyable relationships. Many local groups and initiatives provide the opportunity to connect with others who also value bringing people together and strengthening our community: Neighbors United, Places2040, The Ah-ha Project, and The Great Social Enterprise Pitch (which happens to be September 30th at The Ware Center). There are also many local groups for a variety of ages and interests: Lancaster Young Professionals, Lancaster Transplant, and The Downtowners, along with multiple rotary clubs and special interest groups. Also, be sure to visit a smattering of community events; sign up for Fig’s weekly email and take a look at Lancaster City Alliance’s event page for fun upcoming to-do’s.
Self-care encompasses everything from eating healthy to setting limits conducive to a work-life balance. Spending time outside, getting enough sleep, making a priority of what you value, and engaging in activities that you enjoy are all part of self-care. With busy lives, it can be challenging to address all of these facets! Fortunately, in Lancaster, resources abound for fostering self-care. Sunday mornings, give some attention to mind-body development and drop in for Yoga at Zoetropolis, which is donation-pay. Take your body and lifestyle habits to the next level with a variety of nutrition and health classes at the YMCA. Also, take a look at Lighten Up Lancaster to see all of the resources they offer for creating a healthy lifestyle. If self-care consistently seems to take a back seat, consider coming to one of the self-improvement classes through Paragon Life Coaching to start making yourself a priority, such as “I Want to Change” or “Healthier Relationships: what I give and what I get.”
These are only a handful of ways to indulge in what Lancaster has to offer us for a well-rounded, meaningful, healthy, and happy life. We have much to appreciate about the community spirit found in Lancaster, we all have much to offer our community, and we all benefit from it. Please share in the comments below the places, groups, activities, and parts of our community that enrich your life!