I recently stumbled upon a quote found from a Tumbler account on Facebook – I know, there is just so much social media out there. Sheesh! I just barely got on Instagram! The quote from tahtahtahtia started out like this: “Today my anthro professor said something kinda beautiful : You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you”
This got me thinking.
It is so true.
We all have the desire to be just what someone needed in just the right moment, whether we want to admit it or not. That desire is in us, and we have it because it feels good. A recent article I read said “Social connections are as important to our survival and flourishing as the need for food, safety, and shelter. But over the last fifty years, while society has been growing more and more prosperous and individualistic, our social connections have been dissolving. We volunteer less. We entertain guests at our homes less. We are getting married less. We are having fewer children. And we have fewer and fewer close friends with whom we’d share the intimate details of our lives. We are increasingly denying our social nature, and paying a price for it. Over the same period of time that social isolation has increased, our levels of happiness have gone down, while rates of suicide and depression have multiplied.” (full article found here)
So when we decide to do something nice for someone, what does that look like?
- Its when your friend and her toddler stop by with a bouquet of roses on a dreary winter day telling you the roses are “Just to brighten your day”.
- Its when your sister says to drop off your son for the day, and she has no idea it was the perfect day for it because you really need a break to try and regain some of your sanity.
- Its when your neighbor drops off a card with some raspberries (because she knows you love them), thanking you for time you worked together in a church calling.
- Its when you are down in the dumps and no one knows it, but your sweet friend has sent you a card in the mail just to make you smile.
- Its a text from your mom reminding you what ‘ol Bob Marley sings “Every little thing, is gonna be alright”.
- Its when “just for fun” your sister hands you a gift bag with a special popcorn bowl and M&M’s so you can have a family movie night.
- Its when you are in charge of all the women’s group activities in your church, and a sweet couple offers to cut out tons of gorgeous wood nativities and help the women assemble them for a craft night, removing the need to plan an activity and a lot of stress off your shoulders.
- Its when you ask your neighbor the secrets for getting your grass greened up and they stop by with a bottle of easy application fertilizer.
- Its when your kids dressed up like superheros to go to Lowe’s for some nails, and the sales associate wants their autograph because she “has never had Superman and Wonder Woman in her store before”.
- Its when you are dropping off your daughter to play with her best friend, and her mom (and your bestest friend) has made you the most delicious AND nutritious smoothie for you to have on the way home.
- Its when a woman who knew your husband’s family in Ecuador is sure some kitchen tools would be helpful in making some authentic Ecuadorian food, and she brings you said kitchen tools all the way back from Ecuador from a family trip she just took.
All of these things were acts of kindness. Some took little time and a little effort. Some took more time and lots more effort, but all had an impact on me, the receiver.
What does your brain look like when you perform acts of kindness?
Well, in a study conducted in 2007, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to see what happened to the brain when people gave money to a charity vs when they received money for themselves and it was found that the brain’s reward center (the same place we feel pleasure) was more active when the subjects gave $10 to charity than when they received $10 for themselves.
That is just ONE of the studies done that proves that doing kind things looks good on your brain, and therefore your life.
My sweet friend Pat and I have been friends for just a few years, but the moment I met her I knew that she was super kind and genuine. Our age difference is quite a lot, but I have felt so much love and kindness from her. She will randomly send me cute and funny cards in the mail (just when I am needing a little love) and we only live a street away. There is just something about getting a real piece of mail that is so exciting to me. I loved getting mail so much as a kid, there were several years I wanted to be a mail woman 🙂
She sent me a card with something similar to this, it made me smile so much I decided I wanted to make a free printable for all of you so that you could make your brain look good and spread some kindness around.
Print off the printable found HERE (just a reminder, you do NOT have to have an account with dropbox to print it off. Just click the “X” to close the window that pops up and the free printable will come up to print 🙂 Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, (or if you are short on time grab some Chips Ahoy cookies). I buy my little clear bags from Walmart. They are about $2 for 25 bags. I love to use ribbon or washi tape to add some fun detail. Put some cookies in your bag, punch a hole, tie the ribbon, sign your name and you are good to go! All ready to brighten someones day and in the process, just as science has proven over and over, you will brighten your own.