With Christmas just around the corner, we are being lured into consumption mood by glittery shop windows on the streets and sparkling gift offers on the internet. Buying presents and planing surprises for our loved ones is on everyone’s mind. Christmas time makes us more generous over all and many of us – feeling cosy and warm inside – decide to not only give to families and friends, but also to support people or animals in need. Some might (unfairly) suggest that this does not only have to do with our urge to help during the most festive time of the year, but because we feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses”. This denotes an idiom referring to the comparison of oneself to one’s neighbor, as a benchmark for social class or the accumulation of material goods. In other words, Christmas also triggers our competitiveness 🙂
But what about the rest of the year? When was the last time you did something kind? Maybe even to a stranger? Just performed a “random act of kindness” without any hidden agenda? You cannot remember? I am sure most of us cannot.
Of course I did not come up with the idea of “RAOK” (random act of kindness) myself. There are numerous communities and facebook groups that promote performing big and small acts of unexpected kindness in order to spread the love and inspire even more kindness. And guess what, being kind to others does not only make them feel good, due to the chemistry of the brain’s reward system, but it also leaves you with a nice feeling, while reducing your stress level.
And here are some suggestions:
- Pay an honest compliment to someone.
- Bring your stressed out colleague a cup of coffee or tea, when she or he least expects it, and needs it the most.
- When you buy your next coffee at a coffee shop, buy one more for the person behind you. (Imagine how nice it would make you feel if your morning cappuccino was free :-)) As with caffè sospeso, this has actually been working for a really long time.
- Ask somebody how you can help them and then simply do it.
- Leave a nice waitress or waiter the biggest tip you can afford.
- Let someone have THAT parking spot.
- Next time you go to the store, ring your neighbor’s doorbell and ask if she/he needs anything.
- Offer your friends with kids to babysit, so they can have a date night.
- Help someone struggling with heavy bags.
- Next time somebody pushes you around in a crowded bus, instead of pushing back, you flash him or her your nicest smile.
- Come up with many more 🙂
The most important thing about theses ROAKs is not to expect anything back from performing them. Sometimes, you might not even become visible for the receptor.
We all know how much a small gesture can mean in the midst of a bad day!
So, let’s carry the spirit of giving into our everyday lives and do more nice things for each other!
Header image credits royalty free