There was a timein my life when I was going through an extremely rough patch. I was stressed beyond measures and truth be told, I do consider that phase to be the worst time of my life although one that taught me a lot.
During this time, a close friend of mine with whom I had lost touch, came to know about my hardship through our mutual friend, and he sent me a card which had just two lines written on it.
“I know the times now are rough, but I also know that you are stronger than all your problems. You have always been and will always be.”
Of course these lines were motivating and it gave me renewed strength to combat my situation, but my friend’s thoughtfulness and his simple act of sending support really touched me. Needless to say, we have rekindled our friendship.
When we do something good for others, especially something that isn’t expected from us, it has a massive impact on that person’s life. But it has an ever bigger impact on our life.
Have you ever helped an elderly reach for an item in the grocery store, or simply given your seat to a frazzled mom with a crying toddler? And how did you feel about yourself?
You felt a sense of pride. You felt good.
Allan Luks explains in his book ‘The Healing Power of Doing Good’ that whenever you help another person, you feel a sense of euphoria, you feel ‘high’. His coined term ‘The helping high’ is the name given to this heart-warming feeling you experience when you help someone or perform a kind action.
So, how does this practicing random act of kindness affect our physical and mental health?
Let’s start with a small experiment. Think of one person who terribly wronged you in the past. The feeling you feel right now is that of bitterness and revenge. Now, imagine a situation where you have to help this person out, maybe their house burned down or they are going through a difficult phase in life. Don’t let the thought ‘Why should I help them anyway’ come to your mind. Just think that you have to
be the bigger person and help them.
How do you feel now?
Do you feel a little less bitter about the past and a lot more respect for yourself? Does being the bigger person give you mental peace and a control over your emotions?
It is no hidden fact that holding grudges and negative emotions corrodes your happiness and creates an ill state of mental and emotional health, which in turn has an adverse effect on your overall physical health. Once you let go of this feeling and replace it with positive outlook and a desire to help others no matter who the person in question is you create a positive mindset that thinks about doing good things and is full of positive thoughts.
And when you are truly happy, there is no room for stress and self-criticism. You are also setting a chain of kind actions in motion. When someone is touched by the difference you have made in their lives, it permeates their subconscious mind and they aim to replicate this behavior by performing a kind action of their own.
Not sure where to get started? Here is a list of everyday kind actions that you can adopt and practice on a regular basis:
- Pay someone’s parking ticket
- Play with a kid and let them win
- Spend some time with an elderly and encourage them to talk about their life
- Forget a debt that a friend owes you
- Give a generous tip to an especially rude waiter
- Carry an extra cup of coffee for your colleague so they don’t have to go to the machine
- Leave a note of encouragement for your spouse or children
- Offer to babysit and give some alone time to busy parents
- Take donuts or snacks for your colleagues at work
- Bake a cake for a neighbor
- Drop some food for stray animals
- When a driver tries to merge in your lane, allow them to do so and give a friendly wave
- Pay the toll fee for the car behind you
- Pick up a piece of trash from the road and throw it in the bin
- Keep an extra umbrella and offer it to a needy person the next time you are caught in a downpour
- Volunteer to work at the local shelter
- Buy inexpensive gifts or a box of food for homeless kids
- Know a family going through a financial crunch? Cook a little more the next time and send it to them.
- Write a referral or drop in a resume of a friend who might be looking for a job.
There’s so much you can do for others which could change their entire life. Pledge to perform at least one kind action every week.