#228 Buy Coffee for the Person Behind You

When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#228

Buy coffee for the person behind you.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, perhaps even acutely aware of the ‘random act of kindness’ movement (#RAK).  You may even have performed one recently. What I’d like to suggest is that the next time you get in line to buy coffee, a latte, or a frappe – please consider paying for the drink that the person behind you has ordered (assuming you are in a drive through line). You could do it for the car behind you in an drive through that pre-orders (fast food, etc.).

We know that ‘kindness begets kindness’… when people are the receiver of a random act of kindness, they are more likely to perform one but it has to start somewhere. Why not be the one to initiate?

When you are kind, pleasure centers in your brain are activated. Your dopamine levels increase and you feel happier. When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

When I make this suggestion I sometimes hear objections of how difficult it is to find an extra $5 but really… it’s only $5 and it might mean that your coffee tomorrow is forgone but knowing that you’ve impacted the life of another in a positive way will override any deficiency.

It’s a simple suggestion, spending a few dollars on someone you don’t even know to promote happiness for you both. Why don’t you consider, the next time you are sitting in line at a drive through… promoting happiness by taking the time to …

Buy a coffee for the person behind you.

\I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#229 Chat with a random Stranger

The premise is simple and mostly likely etched in your memory somewhere because children do this naturally. (Another example of something innate that we ‘unlearn’.)

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#229

Chat with a Random Stranger

Disconnect

We live in a world that while connected via radio waves and fiber optic cables, is often disconnected from an interpersonal perspective. We walk around with cell phones and headphones, attending to email, social media, and news headlines rather than the space in which we stand. Most of us can find ourselves standing next to a stranger at some point during the day with barely a glance to recognize their presence there; the ghostly whisper of our mothers “don’t talk to strangers” mantra reverberating ever so slightly through our memory.

Connect

If we take time to bring ourselves into the present moment while we run our errands, grab our lunch, or wait for transportation, we can simultaneously take time to appreciate the people in our periphery. Why not go one step further and connect with one of the other human beings close by? A simple comment of “that color looks great on you” or “I love your haircut” may be just the thing that person needs to counterbalance a negative from earlier in the day. The few seconds you take to actually connect to someone benefits you too.

Thrive

Social connection is linked to happiness, personal thriving, and longevity. It seems that even the simple act of acknowledging that we are not isolated – even if we don’t know or aren’t friends with people – can improve our state of mind. If we look up and acknowledge others in our environment for even a brief interaction, our brains interpret connectivity. The truth is, we aren’t isolated anywhere but in our minds. At any given point, most of us can walk out our door, down the sidewalk and connect with a human being in some kind of way – IF we choose.

Lessons from Childhood

The premise is simple and mostly likely etched in your memory somewhere because children do this naturally. (Another example of something innate that we ‘unlearn’.) Children – completely unknown to one another – will engage on a playground within minutes of being there. In no time at all, they are introducing themselves and cooperating to extend their enjoyment.

Make a pledge to yourself to disarm those adult hesitations, break away from your distractions, and be present the next time you find yourself in a line, a group, or a crowd and make the effort to …

Talk to a random stranger.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Simon Shim on Unsplash

#230 Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#230

Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Yesterday I suggested that you re-read your favorite book and if you take me up on that suggestion…. Great! I hope you enjoy. Afterwards – or in the event that you don’t want to re-read it – write a note about why the book stands out in your mind, tuck it inside and give it to a friend (without giving away the ending).

Sharing Is Good

You might share why you are giving this particular book to that particular person. Is there something about the story that reminds you of her/him, or the relationship  you have with them? Is there something else that you think resonates within the story? Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Connections

This gesture is a small example of how we might foster social connections. Sharing is an integral part of connecting with others. Research tells us that when we share, the pleasure centers of our brain are activated – the same areas that turn on when we eat food that we enjoy or have sex. Because we take time to step outside of ourselves – out of our selfish perspective – we may also improve elements of depression or anxiety.

Kindness

Perhaps the best benefit of all is that we promote kindness which, is known to be one of those things that create forward ripples; kindness begets kindness. Not to mention that the gesture promotes reading. You may never know what goodness happens after you…

Give the gift of your favorite book.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#274 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Research has repeatedly indicated that people who are consistently benevolent report higher levels of well-being than others.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#274

Do a good deed

Think about this phrase ‘do a good deed’ for a minute. What does it mean to you? Does it mean a kind gesture? What would that look like?

There are more ways to do a good deed than there are words to describe how it may be enacted. From returning a grocery cart for someone to paying for a full grocery order – it can cost nothing or as much as you would like to give. It can take barely any energy or be a full day of hard labor. It might be working with a bona-fide charity or simply some random act that was spontaneous.

It doesn’t matter how large or small a good deed is, the act itself is important. Why?

Turns out that when we do something nice for someone, the pleasure centers in our brain are activated – another way that we produce the happy chemical dopamine. Research has repeatedly indicated that people who are consistently benevolent report higher levels of well-being than others.

Perhaps the key element here is ‘consistent’. I’d wager that most of us have done something nice for someone at one point or another and we may not consider ourselves ‘happy’. Yet, when we extend kindness over and over again, day after day… we are also benefiting.

Kindness begets kindness and so our good deed may in fact, be the one that begins a ripple in the energy of generosity. Some would argue that the extension of kindness is the ultimate journey for our souls; that to aid those less fortunate than ourselves is a social or spiritual rule. In any regard – it will help you feel better about yourself and probably about your circumstances as we can always find someone more in need than we are.

Do yourself – do someone else – a favor today and …

Do a good deed.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

 

#294 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#294

Babysit

This may sound like an odd suggestion for increasing happiness but indeed – it may be just the thing you need as children have a tendency to remind us how precious life can be. Even if you have your own children, another child can offer a fresh perspective. Children know how to be present and in the moment naturally and they instinctively understand what it means to be authentic; traits that we adults, need reminded of far too often.

If you have children:

Babysitting another child can offer perspective on the value of your own children. It can be another form of the blessing you experience every day and/or it can be a reminder of the potential your own children have. It may remind you why you made the decision to have children in the first place.

If you don’t have children but are thinking about it:

Babysitting other children may inspire you in your decision to move forward or it may cement the decision not to commit. Spending time with someone else’s child may demonstrate the joy that a child can carry into your life or it may validate the concerns you’ve had about readiness.

If you’ve made the decision to never have children:

Babysitting will remind you of life’s innocence. It will help you put life stressors into perspective and open your eyes to another way of viewing the environment surrounding you.

If you are an empty nester:

Babysitting your grandchildren and/or another child will have you counting blessings in many directions. There’s nothing quite like the spirit of a child to brighten our space, our spirit, and our sense of purpose. And… they seem to find all the things we’ve hidden or lost!

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent; returning to their own child/ren refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. It’s an extension of kindness in a subtle way and yet it really a personal treat each time we…

Babysit

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#314 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Food is often a neutralizer of gender, age, and differences. It can open people’s hearts and consequently, their minds to new experiences, ideas, and conversation.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#314

Make dinner for your neighbor

What a special treat it is to come home in the evening and not have to worry about making a meal! Demonstrate a gesture of kindness by doubling a recipe tonight and taking the extra to a neighbor so they won’t have to cook tomorrow!

We are generally good about supporting the dining needs of our friends and neighbors when they are sick, have a baby, or a death in the family but why not… just because? Not that I think we should be feeding the whole block or that our next door friends can’t take care of themselves but why not treat them to something completely unexpected?

For practically no extra effort and very little expense, duplicating a pan of baked ziti or an oven roasted chicken might just make the day for a family with very little time or a single dad exhausted after a long work day.

If your neighbor is single or elderly, invite them over to share the meal or offer to stay and provide company while they eat what you delivered. Food is often a neutralizer of gender, age, and differences. It can open people’s hearts and consequently, their minds to new experiences, ideas, and conversation. If nothing else, it is an extension of generosity that might just also make or fortify a meaningful, connection. Give it a try. The next time you’re making a crock pot or casserole type meal, double the recipe and …

Make dinner for your neighbor.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#328 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Are you able to share a piece of yourself? Do you have an hour a week to make a difference in someone’s life? Perhaps they could use a friend.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#328

Befriend someone

Do you know someone who doesn’t have a big social circle? Do you know an older person who is lonely or actually… alone? Are you aware of someone who recently experienced a traumatic loss? Is there someone in your environment, at work or at church, who appears to be alone more often than not?

Are you able to share a piece of yourself? Do you have an hour a week to make a difference in someone’s life? Perhaps they could use a friend.

While carving out an hour from  your week may seem cumbersome or downright impossible, imagine bringing a summer of sunshine to someone else’s grey cloudy life. Imagine that someone chooses to live – actually makes the decision to stay alive – because you take an hour from your week to share kind thoughts and a little light. Imagine that someone counts the hours that pass by until your presence graces their path again next week.

Maybe it’s a kid who doesn’t have anything to go home to… or a widower who is tired of eating alone night after night. Your kind gesture to behave in a friendly manner to this person who may feel isolated and alone could mean the difference between a life of loneliness and a life of hope.

Be mindful of the people in your periphery. Pay close attention and then offer your friendship. It’s free to give and relatively cheap to maintain. The benefit is amazingly measurable when we take the time to…

Befriend someone.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.