November is easily one of my favorite months of the year. I love that it’s sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas (celebrated in my family). It reminds me that yummy food and family time is upon us. Oh, also, it’s finally socially acceptable to blast Christmas music and watch Hallmark movies! But it being, well 2020, it may feel a little difficult to enjoy at times.
With a year full of such difficult moments and uncertainty, it might feel challenging to gather as the year before. If plans change, take advantage to slow down and recharge.
Gratitude allows us to recognize and express appreciation for what we have. As you probably read earlier, expressing gratitude helps increase positive feelings within ourselves and leads to a greater sense of happiness.
One thing I can appreciate about this gratitude newsletter series and its alignment with the month of November (which is obviously no coincidence), is the holidays that this month hosts. For one, Veteran’s Day on the 11th. As you know, Veteran’s Day is a day when we honor those individuals who have served in the United States Armed Forces. These military veterans have sacrificed time with their families, and more importantly, their own lives, for the belief of a greater good in the world. Secondly, Thanksgiving Day, which is dedicated to the act of ‘giving thanks’ to the people or things that have made our life better.
In reflecting on these holidays and what they represent, it inspired appreciation not only for what we have but what we are giving to others as well. A desire to not only give thanks but to do something in return. In doing so, this active gratitude recognizes that we can not be who we are or where we are in life without the contribution of others. What better way to display a humble sense of gratitude than to ‘pay it forward.
What do I mean by paying it forward? Perform an act of kindness. By doing a simple act of kindness, you make an impact on the life of someone else (for the better!) and maybe inspiring them to do the same.
Studies show that people who are altruistic report a higher sense of happiness overall. They report feeling more energetic, calmer, and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth. Altruism is linked to having a strong sense of doing something that matters. This can be helpful for those who have felt lost in this rollercoaster of a year.
Research also shows that not only the individuals on the receiving end of these random acts of kindness display higher gratitude and happiness but also observers. Imagine, just doing one random act of kindness can have such a trickle effect of goodness!
So, let’s challenge ourselves. During the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, plan to do one random act of kindness each week. Journal about your experiences and see what goodness you want to take with you into 2021. Think of doing something different each time and something that strengthens existing social ties, as this makes it more likely for you to repeat them.
Here are just a few ideas of random acts of kindness:
- Write a card to someone, perhaps, saying ‘thank you’
- Visit grandma/grandpa
- Call or visit a family member or friend you haven’t talked to in a while
- Give an extra-large tip
- Bake cookies for a neighbor
- Buy the meal/coffee order of the person behind you
- Remember Covid adjustments – wear your masks and wash your hands!
Be kind. Spread the love.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Have courage and be kind… Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic.” – Cinderella