In my fourth month of exploring The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky as a part of my journey on finding happiness in 2011, the month of April was dedicated to the act of spreading acts of kindness: doing good things for others, whether friends or strangers, either directly or anonymously, either spontaneously or planned.
This and the next strategy focus on investing in social connections, and it’s no surprise that “true happiness consists in making others happy”. Thanks Dalai Lama. The book notes “the deed need not be grand or complicated” and that “timing is everything: which acts, how often and how much”.
Apparently this concept has been on others minds as well as Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point just shared her Thoughts on Being Proactively Kind this week:
I’m trying to focus on being proactively kind whenever I walk into a store or open a book. I make an effort to search for the positive in a way that I might have searched for a negative before. And when I do have a compliant, I’m trying to first list all of the positive qualities that I noticed.
This made me think of my dining out with a gluten intolerantance. I know I’m a pain in the behind for restaurants. There are extra steps to take with my order – note the intolerance, change the gloves, confirm that AP flour isn’t used as a thickener, double the veggies, and so on. That alone is enough of a pain to the restaurant staff, so I do my best to minimize my requests from there. I try to order something that is already gluten-free or is easily made gluten-free. I am grateful for the extra service. After each dining experience, I thank my server and/or the chef profusely for their assistance in making my experience enjoyable and pain-free.
Another example of others spreading kindness was found in my email when I received this from my favorite yoga studio:
It’s your anniversary with Nishkama Yoga! As our client you are very important to us and we greatly value your business. We truly hope that you have enjoyed your experiences at Nishkama Yoga and will continue to in the future.
As always, if you have any suggestions, comments, or requests about future services, then please let us know. Hope to see you soon!
The Nishkama Yoga Team
In this “thank you” economy, it’s nice to be recognized for my loyalty in a simple way. Nishkama Yoga – thanks for spreading kindness my way this month!
But what did I do to spread kindness during the month of April?
I held two giveways on the blog: there’s still time to enter to win the second one by clicking over to this post! You know you want to Taste Seven Hills with me!
I was more courteous of a driver on I-480: I REALLY dislike the commute, mostly due to some aggressive driving by all parties – including myself. I decided to slow down – even when I’m being pushed to go FAR too fast – and do my part to make everyone’s commute a bit safer.
I organized a chance for bloggers to connect: This is totally self-indulgent, but I get such joy in bringing people together for the Ohio Blogging Association meet ups. This month’s get together at Touch really was a joy to lead, so I thank you all again whom were able to attend. I hope the connections you made were helpful to your own personal blogging passions.
I recruited volunteers for upcoming non-profit events: with the Cleveland Arthritis Walk tomorrow and more events coming up next month, my favorite involuntary volunteers (AKA my family members) will be joining me to support a great local cause.
I signed up to volunteer myself: As an official Cleveland Marathon blogger, I submitted my volunteer form online and have already received my volunteer instructions for May 15th!
I made dinner for Hans on work nights. Since I eat at a time known for early bird specials, the hubby and I don’t usually eat the same meal for dinner, let alone at the same time. To show him some kindness, I got back into the swing of making him dinner. Nothing elaborate by any means, but giving him the chance to unwind while I did something that normally brings me a sense of calm ended up being a win-win for both of us.
I focused on sharing kindness with myself: Remember how I asked myself how can my self-love spread positively into other areas of my life? I realized I needed to focus some positive energy towards the things that make me happy:
…less moping and couch potato-ing, more yoga and pup walks.
…less avoiding social interaction, more contacting friends/family to meet to catch up.
…less automatic “yes”s, more saying “we’ll see” or “sorry I can’t”.
…less anxiety and overthinking, more uni-tasking and focus.
Showing myself some love and compassion was possibly the greatest act of kindness I could do after coming to my realization of last month. Subbing the self-hatred for self-appreciation has only spread kindness to all that I encounter. Plus, you don’t want to hang out with a crabby Alicia! Trust me!
What’s in store for next month? Nurturing Social Relationships. If that means throwing some parties, networking with healthy living bloggers and hanging out with my friends and family – I’ve got this one in the bag!