October 11, 2016

Do Good, Feel Good—10 Everyday Ways to Give.

Flickr/PROKelly Sue DeConnick

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ The Dalai Lama

Compassion is always a sure way to boost our own spirit when feeling in a lull while uplifting people around you along the way.

It can come in the form of helping others, giving gifts, or practicing kindness.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, nothing has lifted my spirits more and made me feel at ease and safe in the world than kindness received from strangers, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.

There was the time a yoga teacher serenaded me with a heartful chant in the midst of internal chaos, a time when a thoughtful comment on social media made me feel seen and connected to human family, and even a time when a simple smile from a stranger turned my entire day around for the better. Looking back at these events is enough to fill the heart and continuously uplift.

Pick up trash. Aim for at least three pieces a day. Or if you’re feeling especially motivated, head out to your favorite trail or park and spend time picking up wrappers, cigarette butts, and all other inorganic waste scattered in the area. Mother Nature will thank you!

Phone a friend. Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while to check in, send a thoughtful text their way, or set up a face time date.

Support your favorite podcast. Write a review, donate through Paypal or Patreon, use their Amazon banner ad when shopping to send some change their way.

Volunteer at your yoga studio. Offer to stay and clean the studios and bathrooms or help with tidying up the props.

Bake a cake. Or your favorite sweet treat to bring to work or friends (bonus points if it’s a healthier option).

Send snail mail. Write a letter to a relative or faraway friend and seal with a kiss.

Give thanks. Whether it’s a teacher, employer, or inspiring figure in your life, send an acknowledging thanks their way.

Practice self-compassion. Draw up an epsom salt bath, treat yourself to a pedicure, or take a lone walk in the woods. When you fill up your own tank, you have more to give to others.

Pay it forward. Toss in a few for the car behind you at the toll booth, refill an expired parking meter or offer to buy the next guy in line a coffee.

Practice Metta (loving kindness) meditation. First offer to yourself the thoughts, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.” Then silently imagine a friend, stranger, and eventually enemy, and say to them in your head, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” Practice sending kindness while sitting on your meditation cushion, riding the bus, or waiting in line.

“The universe operates through dynamic exchange…giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.” ~ Deepak Chopra


Author: Kristen Buchan

Image: @elephant Instagram & Kelly Sue DeConnick/ Flickr 

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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Kristen Buchan