To some degree, every single one of us is experiencing change right now. Maybe it is related to the election, the anticipation of the holidays, loved ones coming and going, a personal victory or obstacle, a broken heart. Perhaps you are experiencing heightened anxiety during these changing times. In response to uncertainty, you can regulate your unpredictable emotions by practicing kindness.
Practicing kindness to others is an immediate and reliable remedy to combatting daily stressors and difficult emotions. It is not something that “needs to wait until I am feeling better”. Believe it or not, its effects are especially powerful the worse one is feeling. Why? Let’s be frank: if I am thinking about someone else, then my mind is not on MY-self, MY problems, MY fears or MY anxieties. My mind is now on YOU and bringing joy to YOU. Honestly, how great is this concept? Even if I am selfishly pursuing the practice kindness for the sole payoff of self-distraction, it is a win-win! I feel better because of the momentary respite from my situation and I have brought joy and spread love into the world around me. Ideally, the recipient of kindness is inspired to pay it forward, which ultimately can contribute to changing a negative vibe into a positive one, which is more conducive change.
See? World Peace can be a reality. It can start with one individual!
Studies have shown “a single act can influence dozens more.” Not only will you find peace for your uncertainty and anxieties, but you can spread kindness to others while healing your soul. As the old adage says, "What goes around, comes around." I encourage you to pay it forward!
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Let someone have your parking spot.
- Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line at your local cafe.
- Let the person being you in the grocery store go first...even if their cart is full.
- Pick up a bag of garbage in your community.
- Open the door for a stranger.
- Pay the toll for the car behind you.
- Feed a stranger's parking meter, especially if it has expired.
- Buy a meal for a homeless person.
May you, and countless others, be blessed by practicing kindness.
Lisa Olson Counseling