We’ve all been there – frustrated, in a rut, feeling angry and hopeless. Even yours-truly goes through stages like this. But I’ve found the secret sauce to get out of those dark days.
I’m a guy that loves to create. I’m better when I get to be productive on projects that matter. But there’s something else that’s nearly a drug when it comes to feeling better. This works so well that I never tell anyone what I’ve done.
And it’s completely unselfish.
Acts of kindness.
My best days are when I’m kind to others. So…I lied, it’s a little bit selfish. Because I get something out of it, too. It makes me feel great. It’s not wrong to feel good about doing good, is it?
I love gratitude directed toward me. It feels awesome to look at the release in someone’s eyes when they realize their day got a little bit easier. Or the delight when someone feels genuinely understood.
Having not only empathy — but the initiative to make someone else’s day better can help you, too. You may get a “helper’s high,” making you feel stronger, energetic, calm, and less depressed. How does that work? It’s not magic, it’s science!
Helping other people activates your brain’s “reward center” – releasing pain-relieving chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. The science backs this up — meaning that selflessness can be selfish — but in a good way.
Your feelings follow your actions. It’s not the other way around. Don’t wait until you feel like it to be nice. Be nice to feel better.
It’s not hard to be nice.
I try to live as a servant leader. I want people to connect with me and I want to gently guide them with acts of kindness to do better. The best way I’ve found to do that is to be of service. And not just in business.
Serving takes my day to the next level. Simple things make me happy – like cleaning the house for my wife. Because she keeps our little troublemakers alive, and that’s hard work. I want to see her smile.
Or when I take the cart to the corral for the frustrated grandma in the crowded parking lot. She almost cried once she realized someone was there to help. I think they would have been tears of joy…but I have a neck tattoo, so I don’t know.
And I love doing something huge and nice but never telling anyone I did it – and no, I’m not going to tell YOU what I did, either. (I like this one a lot because the anonymity leaves people confused, but it cheers ’em up anyway).
These things make me feel amazing as a person, and give me the motivation to go do MORE. They also don’t need much extra effort on my part (usually). It’s not hard to be nice, it just takes a little bit of observation of the world around you.
Put down the screen – look around.
You get more opportunities to be nice and do nice things if you aren’t absorbed in your tech. I promise. Look around at the people in your life. Make eye contact with strangers.
Instead of comparing yourself to everyone on social media, look for chances to help people right in front of you.
Opportunities to be kind are all around you:
- Buy a coffee for the person in line behind you.
- Write a love note to your spouse.
- Pet the dog.
- Call your grandparents. They’d love to hear from you.
So go do something nice! Try it right now. And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. That’d be very nice. 😉