Introduce Yourself to Someone in the Neighborhood

Social Fitness Challenge #15Introduce yourself to someone in your neighborhood.

Do you know your next door neighbors? If not, that’s a great place to start this week’s challenge. Getting to know the people who live around you is the perfect way to start to build a strong community. By getting to know your neighbors, you are creating a support network of people who work together to protect and serve the needs of everyone in the group. And you never know – you might make a new friend!

Listen Carefully Rather Than Solve Another’s Problems

Social Fitness Challenge #14Listen carefully to someone without trying to solve his/her problem.

When someone comes to you with a problem or complaint, offer them a listening ear. To practice active listen you should 1) look into the speaker’s eyes, 2) tell her what you hear in your own words–as much as you can, put yourself in her shoes, 3) clarify by asking questions to ensure you understand the person fully, the whole picture, the points being made, and the meaning to the person, and 4) ask the speaker if she wants advice. If she accepts your offer for advice, then begin to reflect on the advice you would like to give her.

When you are thinking about what you are going to say to a person before he is finished speaking, you are going to miss significant information about his story. More importantly, people don’t always want advice. Sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen.

Start a Conversation with Someone You Barely Know

Social Fitness Challenge #10Have a conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to.

As humans, we tend to unconsciously group people into categories. This can cause us to treat certain people preferentially or with prejudice, without us ever realizing it. Any group of people that we feel that we belong to is considered an ingroup, and they are usually made up of people we feel united with due to a common origin, belief, goal, culture, or situation. People that we do not think of ourselves as being a part of are referred to as outgroupsThe people whom we categorize into our outgroups are usually different from us in some fairly obvious (to us) way, such as appearance, culture, or religion. They also tend to be people that we do not know as well. Therefore, a great away to begin to break down outgroup prejudice is by having a conversation with someone you don’t usually interact with.

Ask for Help, Don’t Wander Aimlessly!

Social Fitness Challenge #7Practice asking for help.

This week’s challenge may sound simple. However, asking for help is not an innate ability at which all people excel. Asking for help is a skill that can be developed through practice. Everyone differs in the situations in which they feel comfortable asking for help. This week’s challenge is to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and ask for help in situations where you would normally avoid doing so.

Find more information at the Heroic Imagination Project.

Pay Attention to Your Life!

Social Fitness Challenge #6Throughout the day, take short breaks to practice mindfulness though breath awareness. Be sure to sit comfortably and close your eyes.

The following guide will lead you through a breath awareness exercise. This is only one example of many ways to develop mindfulness through breath awareness. We encourage you to find one that best serves your needs.


Continue reading “Pay Attention to Your Life!”

Compliment a Person Each Day!

Social Fitness Challenge #5Give a sincere compliment to at least one person every day this week.

There are two very different ways that you can respond to your daily experiences. One way limits your choices, diminishes your creativity, and narrows your point of view. This response is referred to as mindlessness. The other possible way in which you can respond to your experiences is known as mindfulness. It does just the opposite. Mindfulness and mindful-reflection give you the power to perceive a wide range of potential responses to a given situation and to choose the one that seems right to you.

When you give someone a compliment you are making a mindful choice to create a positive environment by helping those around you feel good about themselves.