Sometimes we get wrapped up in our own little world. We go about our lives, ignoring the person next to us in line at the store, sitting in our car while pumping gas to avoid chatting with the person next to us, parking in the garage, closing the door and running in as quickly as possible. We ask people how they’re doing, hoping they say, “good” so we don’t have to sit and listen to what they are struggling with. We spend our days checking off lists, shuttling children around, barking at said children, and trying our best to make it to bedtime without keeling over.
I have to admit, I’m tired. Homeschooling 5 kids, heck, just parenting them is exhausting. Cooking from scratch, making Superman a priority, tending to farm animals, just trying to be present with my family…they all take a piece of me. But I found a secret energy booster. It’s not a pill, a drink or a shot. As a matter of fact, it’s completely safe, healthy and will actually make the people around you happy. Sound too good to be true? It almost is. But it’s not.
It’s called acts of kindness. All of us have done something kind at some point in our lives. Maybe it was just offering a hand to someone unloading his or her groceries, or picking up a piece of trash and throwing it away. Doesn’t it feel nice? Seriously, we get an energy boost when we’ve done something good to help someone else. Most the time, I’m too wrapped up in getting through my day and I honestly don’t think about seeking out ways to help others. But one month a year, 30 days, I plan out ways to help others.
Did you know that doing random acts of kindness can actually reduce stress in your life?
“According to scientific studies, some of the physiological benefits to this experience include:
- Increased immune system
- Improved Cognitive Performance
- Increase in energy
- Lower heart rate
- Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
- More likely to live a longer and more satisfied life
- Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones; lower blood pressure; diminished pain”
Participating in acts of kindness has also been linked to improving mental health issues, including depression and Alzeimer’s (see HERE).
So, what can you do? Starting April 1st, participate. Take the challenge. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. So you miss a day here and there. So what? At least you’ve done something. You can lay your head on your pillow each night content with the fact that you have made a difference, no matter how small, in someone’s life. Believe me, you will be happier. You still have a week to plan out your month and come up with some basic ideas you can build off of. Here’s what the kids came up with for our month so far:
Buy lunch for a homeless person
Pick up trash in our town
Help a neighbor with yard work
Bring lunch to a friend
Let someone go in front of us in line at Costco
Clean up the local cemetery and place flowers on graves
Do chores at grandparents’ houses
Do a random act of kindness for someone in our immediate family
Offer babysitting to friends so they can go on a date
Help clean our favorite local adoption agency
Mail a package to family
Load groceries in the car for an elderly person
Give an extra good tip to a waitress
Send special letters to the children we sponsor through Compassion Int’l and World Vision
Write a thank you note to our doctor or dentist
Take grocery carts back in a parking lot
Donate clothes and toys to the needy
Clean a relatives’ house
Organize the garage for daddy (he’ll appreciate that one!)
Wash a family member’s car
Feed the homeless
30 days. 30 deeds. 30 smiles (at least!)
See just how much your life can be changed by doing something small for someone else.
Share this challenge, and comment letting me know if you’re participating!