November: A Month of Peace, Kindness and Gratitude
This month is all about gratitude and kindness! It’s the perfect time to slow down for a moment and reflect on the positive things in your life. Studies show that expressing gratitude can help relieve stress. And that warm feeling you get inside after showing someone kindness? That’s in response to an actual increase in “feel-good” hormones.
You’ve probably heard of “paying it forward.” When someone shows you kindness, you repay him or her by doing the same for another person, and you hope that the recipient of your kindness passes it on to someone else. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
In honor of World Kindness Day, here are five simple ways that you can pay it forward:
- Welcome new neighbors with a plant or a homemade baked item. These days, many people don’t even know their neighbors’ names, let alone socialize with them. If your neighbor is elderly or in need of assistance, you could offer to stop by occasionally, even if it’s just to say hello.
- Donate items that you’re no longer using that could be useful to others. Your old eyeglasses can help someone see, and old cell phones are collected in many locations to be given to shelters. Donate your used books to literacy programs and your unwanted clothes to a local thrift shop. Consider giving your extra canned goods to a food pantry. You’re not just ridding your home of clutter, your donations are also filling a need for others.
- Call or email an old friend or distant family member whom you haven’t spoken to recently. Just one line saying, “I’ve been thinking of you” can go a long way toward making the recipient smile and feel appreciated.
- Think twice before expressing your anger. Did someone steal that parking space you wanted? Maybe they cut right in front of you in the checkout line. Rather than saying something in anger that you might regret, try to pause, breathe, and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You never know if someone is having a bad day or is preoccupied with a problem. Kindness is remembering that we’ve all “been there” at some point. Patience and a smile will go a long way toward avoiding conflict.
- How about treating someone you know to a fresh fruit smoothie? Better yet, buy one for the stranger standing behind you in line at your local Tropical Smoothie Cafe!
Peace is a natural extension of kindness. Kindness breeds peace – something we can all be thankful for. And, with Thanksgiving coming up this month, many people observe a tradition of daily gratitude with a 30 Days of Thanks exercise. Simply blog, journal or post online something you’re thankful for every day this month. We guarantee that by the end of the month, by focusing on what you do have, versus what you don’t, you will feel truly blessed. We believe the benefits of initiating random acts of kindness and practicing gratitude throughout the month of November is sure to carry over into the rest of the year.