Generosity reduces stress, improves immune system response and helps the heart and improves mental health, says Dr. James Doty director of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford.
And it doesn’t take much to make a difference. You don’t have to suffer or sacrifice. You don’t have to go without so that others can have. Though, it is a good idea to share the remote on occasion – and yes, I know this CAN be a sacrifice. But, generally compassion is always affordable, available, and demands little time. An “open heart” is all that is required, Doty says.
Bottom line: You have more to lose by NOT acting compassionately, he says.
Still, we fuss and worry that we can’t make a difference, won’t do enough to ease the suffering in the world; feed the hungry; facilitate peace in the Middle East – so we do nothing. But, the power of giving is is in the small acts. A quick smile, sincere thank you. A love note.
With that kindness, we touch each other and connect with our own essence.
Ready to connect with your compassionate side? Here are some easy-peasy ways to brighten somebody’s day , including your own:
- Leave the change in the pop machine at work
- Send a note telling someone what you appreciate about them
- Mow the neighbor’s lawn
- Deliver meals to the elderly
- Make a meal for a friend
- Take your car to a student car wash and leave a big tip
- Donate money to the local food bank
- Pack a special lunch for your partner or child
- Leave a love note for your spouse
- Take a friend’s kids for a few hours Friday evening so she can have a “Date Night.”
- Look the people who serve you in the eye and offer a sincere “Thank You.”
- Tell someone when they’ve done a good job
- Apologize, genuinely, when you’re wrong
- Make a special lunch for someone you care about
- Drop off a load of groceries for someone who doesn’t have a car
See it isn’t all that hard. What will you do today to add a bit o’kindness to the world?
Note: The post originally ran in July of 2011, but I don’t think kindness will ever be outdated.