Monday, June 2, 2014

Acts of Kindness

Happy Monday! 
Mark Twain said "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." 
The idea that helping others actually makes you feel better is not a new one, it is something that is part of just about every religious teaching since the beginning of time.  What is new is the fact that researchers are actually studying it and showing clinical results that doing acts of kindness results in sustained increase in well-being - Lyubomirsky, S. Sheldon, K.M. & Schkade, D (2005). Pursuing Happiness:  The architecture of sustainable change.  Review of General Psychology, 9, 111-131.
This leads me to a news story that I have been hearing about over the last few days.  A wealthy person has been anonymously leaving money in places and tweeting about it.  People have been searching beaches and parks for envelopes with $1,000 each.  The person who is leaving the money said that he had made a lot of money and wants to give back to others.  I bet that the act of leaving this money has not only impacted those that have received it but also made a measurable difference to the wealthy philanthropist.  It is so wonderful to hear those types of stories since most of the time our news is negative and depressing.  I hope that by having that story out there people will take that as a cue to do something nice for someone else.  We may not be able to so something as grand as leaving thousands of dollars but we can absolutely hold the door for someone or let another car in go in front of you at an intersection.  Acts of kindness do not need be bold or expensive.  They need to be thoughtful and helpful.  Little things like paying for someone's coffee or picking up milk for a neighbor can bring a smile to all those involved.  Hearing about the wealthy person leaving cash made me think about what more I can do in my day to help other people not only for them but for my self.  What can you do to help someone else today?

If you want more information on Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching services such as individual coaching or optimism workshops please check out my website.
I would love connect with you! 
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

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