A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries the bones.
Your alarm went off, you threw it across the room and overslept. Your teenager yelled at you. The dog got out – AGAIN.
It’s pouring down rain. It took an hour and a half to get to work when it normally takes 20 minutes. You spilled coffee on your brand new shirt on the way to work.
You are stressed out!
Is there really a way to have a cheerful heart with all that stuff going on?
One way to change your heart from crumbly to cheerful is to focus your attention on someone else.
Michael Poulin, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo notes that focusing on others reduces your own stress levels and as a result, curbs the adverse impact that stress can have on your health.And you don’t need to travel to a land far far away or spend a ton of money to reap the benefits. Do something that’s enjoyable, convenient, and fuels your passions.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started focusing on others:
• Pack a coworker’s lunch. Love to cook? Double your favorite recipe and take the other portion to share with a coworker. They will appreciate your home cooked meal.
• “Quack” someone! My 9 year old niece and 6 year old nephew and I devised a fun and clever way to brighten someone’s spirits. We have little rubber ducks that we leave on someone’s doorstep with a small gift and a note of hope. We ring the doorbell and run! Well, they ring the doorbell and run. I’m just the get-away driver.
• Send a text or handwritten note to someone letting them know you are thinking of them or thank them for something they’ve done.
• Smile! There are health benefits to smiling! According to an article in Healthhub by the SunWarrior, some of the benefits include:
o Reduced stress
o Better mood
o Encouraged trust
o Increased productivity
• Share your passions and gifts. For example, if you love to read, look for opportunities to become a volunteer reader.
• Give a sincere compliment.
• Send a surprise book to someone.
Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days can lead to awful moods and poor mental health, but if we do small things for others, our mood lifts, and we won’t feel as yucky on stressful days. We can positively impact others and our own personal health. As Henry Flagler said, “helping others is like helping yourself.”
Who will you quack today?