Gratitude and generosity can go a long way to reducing stress in your life. Expressing and demonstrating them won’t take a lot of time either. They may take a little mental energy. Yet when you make the effort to give to another, amazingly, you feel better yourself.
I’ve heard that your holistic mind (not your logical brain) cannot distinguish giver from receiver. So when an act of giving has occurred, the entire circle is uplifted.
Here are a few suggestions for ways you can ignite the circle of giving. Some of these may rattle you boat. Try them anyway.
1. Say something kind about a person you don’t like (and mean it).
Everyone has some redeeming qualities. You might have to look for them, but if you make the effort, you’ll discover that the entire person isn’t evil. I’m not saying you have to become best friends. You just need to see past your judgments about them. When you grow enough to see past your judgments about a person you don’t like, you’ll more easily see the good in tons of other people as well. As your world populates with more ‘positive’ people, you’ll feel happier living and working in it.
2. Thank your staff (genuinely & specifically) when they do something good.
When we’re pressed for time, we often forget the simple niceties of life. And be specific in your positive feedback. Tell the person exactly what they did that you liked and exactly how it helped you. The more specific you are, the more genuine your comment will feel to the person receiving it.
3. Go out of your way to do something especially nice for your spouse or parent.
We are often less polite with the people we live with than we are with total strangers. Why is that?!? You’ve heard familiarity breeds contempt, eh? Well, that’s why conflict is so prevalent in families. We have expectations of wonderful, loving, maybe even fairy-tale relationships, so when they don’t go as we hope, our feelings are more dashed than ever.
It’s important to communicate our wants, needs and desires so that resentment doesn’t build up. But even when it does, doing something nice makes you feel better. (Be careful however, not to let your martyr yoke get too heavy though.)
4. Send an email to someone’s boss when that someone has done something to help you out at work.
How quickly do you fire off emails when something goes wrong, cc’ing the world and maybe even doing the dreaded and seditious bcc? Well, I challenge you to take the electronic high road and send off emails complimenting as many people as you can today, tomorrow and for the rest of the month (dare I say, the rest of your life?). Call the person who helped you but write to the person’s boss. The boss will likely contact the person you wrote about. How great will that be for them? How did you feel the last time your boss complimented you on something you did for someone else?
5. Let go of a grudge and be willing to forgive someone who ‘wronged’ you.
Forgiveness is hard for many people. They mistakenly think they are condoning the bad behavior. Forgiveness is really all about you letting go of your issues. The ‘guilty’ one may never even know you’re forgiving them. It doesn’t really matter if they know (although telling them will help mend your relationship and allow them to move on if you’ve been punishing them in some way). When you forgive, you’ll feel better. You can move on. You can use your energy for something more productive than getting back at them.
Forgiveness takes time, so don’t expect to feel different the moment you say “I forgive (fill in the blank).” Your healing starts when you can sincerely say “I’m willing to forgive”. Being willing to forgive releases negative energy and lightens your heart, perhaps immediately, perhaps just a little. It does bring light to the situation and that’s our goal here. The creation of light around us.
The more positive energy we create, the better off we’ll all be. Walking around stressed and resentful weighs us all down. Make a commitment to bring joy into the world, regardless of how that world looks to you at any moment.
Post comments about your favorite stress relievers and success stories from your experience.