It’s kind of crazy that as a society many of us have become robot-like machines: earphones in, head down no time to stop and talk, always busy, always rushing. Does this sound familiar?
Do you find yourself scrolling Facebook or Instagram over and over again? Have you ever caught yourself doing it whilst on the toilet? I confess I have. Several times and when I caught myself the last time, I decided this has got to stop. How had I become one of these people that check their phone repeatedly and got too busy and rushing everywhere; too busy to start a conversation with the lady at the checkout in the supermarket. I love chatting to people I was always known as a child for never shutting up. The truth is I wasn’t too busy I was getting caught up in my own world, caught up and self-centered on what I wanted to achieve that day, where I had to get to next.
We find ourselves in situations like this, every single day. What do you do? How do you act? Do you turn your head and move on or do you stop and smile? Next time I encourage you to try this: let that person cut in front of you, buy that person a cup of coffee. I’m a true believer that small acts of kindness like this can change the world.
As most of us are aware, health and happiness are on a global decline. In 2017, in the United States, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death with about 3,835 people attempting suicide daily, and 129 losing their lives.
This truly breaks my heart and has driven me on my path of showing up more and sharing happiness tools and teachings with the world. I have come to love showing random acts of kindness. We all know how good it feels to arrive at work and someone has left a bunch of flowers on our desk or going to collect the mail and finding a “Thank you” card in the post. Choosing to show compassion and generosity to another plays a vital role in creating happiness within and around us.
If you want a happier life and fewer problems a great way is to develop a serious concern for others. I have worked consciously on cultivating this tradition throughout my lifestyle and I totally love it.
We humans really have a special brain we love to cause a lot of our own suffering by focusing on “me, me, me”, all the time. The more time we spend thinking about ourselves the more suffering we experience but the wonderful thing is if we start focusing on sharing and helping others the suffering starts to diminish. When we look outside ourselves, we stop thinking of our own problems because our attention is focused elsewhere. It is a simple but very difficult act of living in the present moment.
So how can we put this lovely idea into motion and make it come to life, these random acts of kindness do not have to cost a huge amount of money, so much kindness, and generosity is right at our fingertips.
Sometimes our world seems dark and scary and we feel powerless to change it but together I believe there are steps we can take to make things better. We can find ways to break down barriers, build stronger communities, and normalize compassionate behavior. We can be intentional about creating opportunities to practice kindness and below is a list to help you get started on this intentional shift.
- When catching public transport offer your seat to a pregnant woman or someone older than you (I remember doing this as a child but seems we have forgotten the gestures into adulthood)
- Pick one person a week and send them an email, card or text saying (just a reminder I love you)
- When buying a coffee occasionally shout the next person in line and just wish them a wonderful day.
- When you are making your lunch to go to work pack an extra container and give it to a work colleague (just thought I’d share my lunch with you today)
- Put out your neighbors’ bins just so they do not forget
- Offer to babysit a friend’s kids for free so they can have a date night
- Compliment someone (how good it feels to be told that we look nice today)
- Hide inspirational quotes on sticky notes around your home and office
The list really goes on and on and let's be honest it really does not take that much effort to show up, smile and do something for someone else and you just never know how much that person really may need it.
We can be the change we want to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)