Think back to the Saturday mornings of your childhood. You might remember sitting in front of the TV watching your favorite kids shows that taught about being kind and helping others. You probably didn’t realize it, but those shows were helping you develop the fundamental building blocks to making the world a better place and living your best life.
Remember how great you felt back then when you helped another kid out or did something nice for someone without being asked to? Even though you were just a kid, you were already making a difference. And it wasn’t even that hard! So what happened? Are you still joyfully helping others as much as you did back then? I’m not saying you’re a jerk now, but at some point life probably happened. Maybe you graduated from college or started a family. Maybe you started up your own business. Whatever the case, you got busy adulting, and you probably started spending less time reaching out and giving back.
Being kind isn’t just about helping other people, though. It can also make you healthier, stronger, and even help you live longer. Research has shown that the power of kindness activates the joy centers of our brains. As a result, your stress level decreases, and you feel more connected to the world around you. Even more importantly, it fosters a sense of gratitude which makes you feel good about yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Scientifically, practicing kindness towards both yourself and others can lower your blood pressure and help you live a longer and happier life.
So how can we get better about being more thoughtful toward others on a day-to-day basis? You have to practice being kind in order to make a meaningful change. Turning kindness into a habit, though, is a journey that starts with your well-being. How can you be kind to others if you’re not kind to yourself? If you start by practicing self-compassion first, it’ll be easier to do the same for others. Think back to our exercise when you determined your favorite things about yourself. Fall in love with yourself! Your perspective of the world will naturally change as a result. When you show up fully for yourself, showing up for others simply becomes a part of living and being in the world.
Can you imagine the impact it would make if we all committed to one small act of kindness EVERY DAY as a simple way of celebrating self-love!?
For this training exercise, you’re going to perform an act of kindness. In fact, don’t stop at one, commit to FIVE! Your challenge, though, is to remain anonymous. This is an INVISIBLE act of kindness, so it’s important that no one knows who did such a nice thing. No one must catch you in the act or respond to your kindness in person. Why the anonymity? There is a specific type of joy I need you to experience in this assignment: the type of joy you feel when you totally love yourself and don’t care who knows it. You love your life, and you love this world, and you’re just celebrating that with this invisible act of kindness. No pat on the back required! You’re not trying to get anything in return… you just care!
Need some ideas?
- Leave a coupon behind its matching product at the grocery store
- Pay someone’s parking meter
- Pick up some trash or tidy up a public area
- Return your shopping cart (bring some extra with you)
- Leave a nice note at the park for someone to find
- Leave spare change in the vending machine
Since this is an invisible act, don’t tell us what you did in the comments section. Just give a quick report on how it made you feel. Of course, you can write the full report to keep for yourself. It’ll be fun to look back on in the future and celebrate how awesome you are. Also, don’t forget to write your Joy Journal entry for the day!