The holidays are upon us! And in a way we’ve never experienced before. More than ever we need ideas that will support and uplift us through this abnormal season. So today I want to offer you a simple and easy technique to ward off the sadness and disappointment we are feeling because we can’t celebrate as we usually do.
As a species, we are social creatures and obtain pleasure in the midst of our companions, whether they are at work, home or play. Admit it, being appreciated feels good! But, these days, we find ourselves separated from people because of mask wearing, social distancing and severe limitations on gatherings. Yes, we can dash in and out of the bank or the supermarket and if you’re really brave, do a run through the mall.
That is why RAK or random acts of kindness may be just the ticket to lighten your mood while you dash around and supply a much-needed boost to your state of mind.
The final topic in my series. “Stimulating Your Spirit”, which ended last week, was about feeling joyful.
Performing RAK is one of the ways that you can very easily bring joy front and center in your thoughts so that you leave the heaviness of this time behind for a bit.
Have you ever been the recipient of a RAK? I have. Many years ago, my family and I were driving upstate to go skiing. As we approached the toll booth on the Throgs Neck Bridge, the toll taker started waving his hand saying, “Go on through.” We didn’t understand. “The people in front of you paid your toll,” he said. Wow, were we delighted that a total stranger would do that for us. It felt great! It led to an animated discussion about human nature and changed the whole mood in the car with the kids.
As wonderful as it feels to be on the receiving end of a RAK, it is just as fulfilling to be the giver of one. Making the decision to do something nice for another person is empowering.
*It helps you to feel joy.
*It lowers your stress.
*It naturally reduces bodily pain.
*It improves your relationships, your health and your business.
A Course in Miracles, which is the metaphysical discipline that informs my life, says, “Giving and receiving are one in truth.” You can’t separate the one from the other. The benefits are equally amazing on either end of the equation.
Research has demonstrated this is true because the pleasure and the reward centers in the brain light up when you perform a random act of kindness. Feel good hormones are released, which increases your happiness. And while “good” hormones are circulating, “bad” ones that cause dis-ease are minimized so you stay healthier.
And suddenly, your troubles don’t seem so huge and burdensome. When you help someone else, you feel good. It’s just a natural thing. A feeling of peace floats over you and you’re stepping outside of yourself in order to focus on someone else. And that’s a great way to help you regain a different perspective in your life, because you realize other people have problems. “I’m not the only one that’s got difficulties or issues to handle.”
In fact it’s endemic. We’re all in this together so we’ve got to help each other out. A shared experience removes fear, which in turn reduces stress which brings joy!
Also, believe it or not, RAKs reduce bodily pain. It’s been scientifically proven that endorphins are produced in the brain and the nervous system when you do something nice for somebody else. They are called natural painkillers. So when these feel good hormones are released, you feel better in your body and when you feel better in your body, you’re going to be happier.
This leads to having better relationships. When you feel good within yourself, you respond to others differently than when you are grumpy and self-absorbed. Momentarily, whatever issues you had that made you feel fearful and alone dissolve. And then you’re going to be much more pleasant, understanding and compassionate.
It’s like a boomerang– you put out good stuff and it comes back.
A friend of mine buys a bouquet of flowers once a month and gives it to a person who looks like they need it. She is thrilled at the smile that alters the downturned face when they realize it’s for them.
I look for small ways to brighten people’s days. A smile (yes, you can see a smile even behind a mask!), holding a door for the next person, letting someone with a couple of items go before you on line at the market, waiting your turn at an intersection, etc, are things I do as frequently as possible because they allow me to receive as I give.
I want you to go out and practice RAK through this holiday season so that you can get through it more easily and peacefully. Maintain a sense of being in this experience together with everyone else, and that we all need to help each other. Enjoy the season despite the changes and things that you’ve had to do (or not do!)
By performing random acts of kindness, you will learn to view your feelings and your thoughts differently, so that you can discover the solutions within yourself for your problems whether business problems, personal problems, relationship problems. Even in the face of the fears that you’re experiencing today.
So how do you decide and remember to perform RAK?
By shifting those concerns from the external, you can learn how to connect with what I call your “Master Switch”, which is the link that hooks you into the greater consciousness, where wisdom is.
You have it within you. If you can spend a tiny amount of time each and every day, preferably first thing in the morning, to get in touch with your inner self, and whatever issues are going on, you will stimulate your spirit, the part of you that is connected to everyone. Then it becomes easy to go out and do your RAK!
Peace and Love Always,
Click here to take my Burnout Self-Assessment to determine next steps to prevent mental and emotional stress from becoming a physical problem or illness.
In my new book, Calm, Creative, Joyful: Lessons in Transforming Your Life, you will acquire abilities you didn’t know you had, to transform the thoughts that hurt so that your life becomes a play of endless opportunities for success and happiness.
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