Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kindness Matters

I recently read the book by Jonathan Fields How to Live a Good Life.  While I plan on doing a more in-depth recap soon, I wanted to share a piece of the book that really stood out to me.

In the section on contribution buckets, Jonathan writes under the sub-heading Give to Glow,

"Turns out even the mere thought of being of service to others activates the part of the brain that releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.  That makes us feel great and want to do more.  It triggers an enhanced sense of purpose and well-being and gives us that deeply yearned-for feeling that we matter.  That the things we do, at least in the moment, have meaning.

"Giving, it turns out, not only begets more giving, feeling good, and wanting to do more, but also deepens our sense of purpose."

I found that both true in my own life, and yet fascinating to read.  When we help others, when we give without expectation of being gifted something in return, it makes feel awesome.  Gives us that glow.  We know, deep down, that giving feels good.  So why don't we practice it more?  And I don't mean monetarily so much, though that's certainly an important way to give, but I'm talking about the little things.  The moments we float by, barely noticing, the chances we have daily, hourly even, to make someone else's life just a tiny bit easier.

Writing a little note in your child's lunch box.

Saving the "good stuff" for your partner to pack for lunch.

Delivering a paper off the printer at the office.

Buying a coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks.

Holding a door.

Lending a hand to a stranger.

Closing the neighbor's mailbox that was left open... again.

Rolling up the trash cans even though your husband usually does that job. (yeah that's me).

Why don't we see those moments?  And if we do, why don't we act on them?

I've been thinking about this since reading the book, and I truly believe it's just that.  We don't even notice the chances we have to be of service.  We are all so caught up in our to-do lists, our phones, or our own heads, that we fail to be present so much of the time.  And when we aren't here, we miss the opportunities we have to be of service in the moment.

I'm certainly no expert on the matter, but reading this has opened my eyes a little to the world around me.  It's given me a new perspective.  As I walk through my day, I try to take a few moments to stop, focus on my breath, notice the life going on around me.  It's tough to break out of the fog of our own minds.  But it feels like just being aware of the small moments that could brighten someone's day, makes me feel more alive when I'm going through mine.  Like I'm on the lookout for ways to be kind to others.  That's not a bad way to go through life.

In the spirit of giving and kindness, please feel free to hop on over to my graphics page (here) and download the latest wallpaper for desktop or phone.  I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Until next time,


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