Here’s a question for you. What have you done today to bring a smile to someone else’s face? It’s an important question, but sadly not something we work towards much these days. There is a very good reason to not only talk about this today, but also put it into regular practice. As it turns out, doing things for other people makes us happy.
When you think about it, it makes sense. We are social creatures and have evolved to work best together in a close-knit society. What benefits those around us, ends up benefiting us as well. If we share our resources today, others will be there to support us when we need help. It made a lot of sense in ages past and over thousands of years of evolution, we developed an internal reward system for being kind to others. It makes us feel good and increases our happiness and contentment.
Over the last few decades, things have changed. We have become more individualistic and egocentrically. We look out for ourselves before focusing on others. “What’s in it for me” has become the primary question. As a result, we’re more anxious, stressed, and depressed than ever before. It’s time to rediscover our altruistic side.
When is the last time you gave someone a gift expecting nothing in return? It’s an amazing feeling. In fact, giving gifts turns out to be a lot more fun than receiving them. All it takes is a little mind shift and an effort to go out and do something nice for others.
This doesn’t have to be time-intensive or expensive. Even simple acts of kindness like sharing a smile or exchanging a few meaningful words with a stranger can do the trick.
Share your resources. Give what you have in abundance. If you’re growing a garden, share some of the bountiful harvest with your neighbors. If you’ve cooked a big pot of stew, take some to the elderly gentleman down the street who hasn’t enjoyed a home-cooked meal since his wife passed away. Offer to watch your friend’s young children for an afternoon so she can go spend some much needed me-time. Mentor someone who needs a little extra guidance.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer your time, your skills, or your resources. Pick one that sounds like fun and give it a try. If you love pets, go snuggle some kittens at the humane society. If you enjoy a nice chat, go spend some time at a local retirement community. Find a way to contribute and help out even if it’s just for half
an hour per week.
Notice how happy it makes you. You will find that you’re getting at least as much out of the time spent volunteering and doing something for others as they get from it. It doesn’t take much to increase your overall contentment and feeling of being fulfilled. Try it for yourself and see how helpful simple acts of kindness to others can be.