Some times, some days are just hard. We may wake up with the perfect disposition and determination to have a great day, but then traffic is horrendous and makes you late. Or maybe you spill coffee on your new white blouse. Or maybe you are just dismayed at the state is discord in the world – the conflict, the crossfire, the hate-filled communication.
I’m there too. On all accounts. But rather than sit with the unpleasant feelings of grumpiness and despair, there’s an option we have that is a fail-safe cure for feeling better. It’s so simple, it’s almost silly. It’s so easy, it’s almost embarrassing.
HELP SOMEONE ELSE.
There you have it. The end-all-be-all cure to being down in the dumps is to help someone else. When you do something nice for a stranger, your pity party gets just a little bit quieter. Or maybe it shuts the hell up. Regardless, you change the trajectory of where you were. You realize that feelings are fungible. They are malleable. And when you don’t like them, you have the ability to change them.
Helping other can be grandiose or merely gratuitous. It can, but doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. What’s so cool though is that regardless of how small or big the gesture, the heart will flutter with feelings of gratitude.
Need some ideas to get you going? Here are 7 Simple Ways to Help a Stranger:
- Lend your voice to people who don’t have one: https://vocalid.co/voicebank# (Takes 3 hours to give a voice, your own, to someone who relies on computer to communicate.);
- Pay it Forward. Buy the person standing in line beside you at a cup of coffee, or pay for the car behind you at the drive-through;
- Open the door for someone with their hands full, pushing a stroller, on crutches, old, in a wheelchair, etc. (DUH!);
- Sweep/pick up outside a neighbor’s door;
- Hug someone who looks to need encouragement (seems creepy to do to strangers, but whenever I’ve done it, it’s been positively, powerfully impactful…to us both);
- Leave a dollar or two in the janitor’s supply closet (I especially love to do this at restrooms in airports and at highway rest stops. Those people get no appreciation but aren’t you grateful when the public bathroom is clean?!);
- If all else fails, SMILE. Smile at as many people as you can. Smiles are contagious. Even if you are smiling just to try to get someone to smile back at you, it still feels good when it happens.
Smiling at you from afar.