happiness

Kindness Challenge: Day Ten of Twelve – Say Thank You

 

Take today to think of the things others have done for you and that you are grateful for. Choose the thing you are most grateful for, it needn’t be something that someone has recently done for you and send them a thank you note. This could be hand written, emailed or even text. Tell them what it meant to you and let them know you appreciated their kindness.

More

What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored how to foster greater kindness within. This week we examine how we can make kindness work with our lifestyles.

 

Letting kindness work for you

 

When I worked in central London one of the main things I did was to talk to homeless people on the way back from work. I used to give them details of a local shelter where they could get a free lunch, shower and even some clothes. If I had any money I also used to buy them food so they wouldn’t go hungry. Most of all I listened to their problems, offered prayer support and treated them with the respect so many people didn’t afford them. Within a month of speaking to them I felt so much happier, I really felt as if I were making a difference and giving them hope for a better future.

 

When I changed job and moved into the suburbs there were no homeless people on my way to and from work so I began helping my friends make over their resumes and started giving money to causes I really cared about, like mental health and anti-trafficking charities.

 

One of the great things about kindness is that it can easily adapt to, and fit in with, your lifestyle. It’s flexible and there are endless ways to be kind that can fit in with your daily routine. You may not have homeless people you encounter in your day-to-day living but you can always give money to charity or give up your seat on the bus to an elderly man.

More

What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part One

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” Anthony Robbins

 

Growing up I was very fortunate that my mother had taught me the importance of kindness from an early age. She always said that it is more important to be kind than liked, and, as I matured, I’ve realized how right she was.

 

In the early nineties when I was twelve years old I went on holiday to Durban, South Africa, to visit my mom’s family. One hot and humid summer’s day I was standing in the driveway of my grandmother’s house talking with my dad.

 

As my dad and I chatted away, an African man walked by on the pathway at the foot of the driveway. He was wearing a grey suit and had on an old fashioned nineteen fifties hat. As he walked by the front of our house he noticed us and stopped. He looked at us and gave us a wide genuine smile and then slowly lifted his hat and lowered it to his chest to say hello.

 

I was so taken aback that this elderly man, someone who for all intense purposes I should have been paying respect to, had shown such kindness to me, someone he didn’t even know, despite his countries racist history when it would have been quite understandable had he hated whites for what they had caused his race to endure.

 

In shock at the genuine kindness he extended to me and humbled by his gentle and sincere soul, I had only just digested what had happened by the time the man had continued to walk on. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by love for him and so saddened at him having experienced the horrid apartheid regime.

 

I started to cry uncontrollably and plead with my dad to invite him into the house for coffee but by that time he was all but gone. I like to think he is in heaven now, though I am saddened by the thought that he possibly never knew what a profound and lasting impact he had on me.  His amazing kindness towards me and his sincere smile will stay with me forever.

 

Although I can’t claim to have shown an act of kindness of the same magnitude as that elderly African man, I like to think I have followed in my mother’s footsteps. I buy food for the homeless, I help write my friends resumes and I give money to causes that I care about.

 

Ok, but what is kindness exactly?

 

Often kindness is very hard to define as it can be so many things. The Oxford dictionary lists it as ‘The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’, the Your dictionary explains it as ‘The act of being warm or caring in spirit’ and the Urban dictionary defines it as ‘The act of going out of your way to be nice to someone or show a person you care’. To me, kindness is a combination of all of these, it is someone extending genuine understanding and compassion towards another and then expressing this concern through gentle, thoughtful acts.

 

The health benefits of kindness

More

How did your kindest act make you feel?

I remember the feeling I had when I paid for my parents to go on their anniversary honeymoon, I was so happy I could say thank you to them in this way for everything they had done for me over the years. It genuinely gave me such joy to see them so happy, it was as if I was going on holiday myself.

 

What’s the kindest thing you have ever done for someone? How did doing this kind act make you feel? This could be as simple as giving money to a homeless person so they could sleep at a hostel that night or even comforting a friend in need during tough times.

 

Please spend just a little time sharing your story, your story may well inspire someone to reach out and act in kindness or even do our thirty day kindness challenge, spreading kindness even further. The more we communicate how transformative kindness can be, the more blessings we can pass on to others and also ourselves.

Next Month’s Hot Topic – Kindness and it’s inextricable Link to Long-Term Happiness

 

Next month’s hot topic is particularly close to my heart and is called ‘What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness’. The series looks at how, by making just a few minor changes, we can reap the benefits of long term happiness by being kinder.

 

The further reading for this month’s series is not only uplifting but incredibly poignant; the book’s title is  ‘The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life’ by Piero Ferrucci.  The Dalia Lama lists it as “A book after my own heart!’ with topics including honesty, warmth, forgiveness, mindfulness, patience, generosity, gratitude, service and joy amongst others.

 

As part of this month’s hot topic I have a thirty day kindness challenge to do one kind thing a day for thirty days so we can test the theory for ourselves and see our happiness soar to new heights. Join me in exploring a more compassionate and happy existence as we embark on a kindness project like no other.

 

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead,

 

x X x Jenny x X x

Why Negativity Harms Dreams and What to do About it

 

I have to admit, I wasn’t always as positive and upbeat as I am now. I used to see the glass as half empty most, if not all, the time. What changed was that when I reached an all time low back in 2009 I had no choice but to accept that my pessimistic outlook was contributing to my depression and was very destructive for me. Although not everyone who is pessimistic becomes depressed, having a negative bias never enhances our life – in fact, quite the opposite!

 

Activities such as reading or watching the news, gossiping or even suspecting the worst outcome in situations leads us to have a cloudy outlook even though our life conditions may be perfectly sunny. Negativity can become such an ingrained habit that even when things are going well for us we treat the positive developments in our lives with suspicion and distrust, looking instead for what could go wrong.

 

The danger is that the more innately negative we are, the more likely we are setting ourselves up for negative outcomes. For example, if I wanted to start my own business and had a negative outlook, I might work really hard still but I would more than likely predict that the venture was unlikely to succeed, leading me  to be less inclined to persevere and more inclined to give up sooner than say, an optimist would. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, a tragic playing out of our own created expectations. But can we ever really change from a negative to a positive bias? Ab-sol-utely!

More

How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Four

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week is the grand finale where we see what practical steps we can take to adopt a more positive outlook!

 

Steps to foster a positive outlook:

 

I have outlined what actions I took to eradicate my negative mindset and create a positive outlook, so that you too can increase your positivity and happiness.

 

 

More

How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Three

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

llll

This week we continue to explore the 8 key gains of adopting a positive outlook.

 

The 8 gains of a positive outlook:

 

5.       Positivity sees failure as opportunities to learn and grow. Any possible failures are seen as learning curves which can help us to see where we went wrong and enable us to adjust our future approach to goals, situations or problems accordingly.

 

6.      Critically, positive people focus on finding solutions to problems rather than negative people who can be more myopic and focus on the problem itself without a wider, outcome focussed approach.

More

« Older Entries