Have you ever seen a child tearing through their toy box looking for just the right toy to play with, discarding all the others all around on the floor, creating a huge mess?
Perhaps your inner child has done the same thing in times of challenges, digging deep for just the right thing to make you feel better. But what happens when you can’t find the right tool? And what you most want to do is simply “tap out” of the fight?
I know this feeling. It’s the one that goes along with, “I got no fight left in me, I can’t do this any longer, and I don’t know what the hell to do different!” My friends, I know from experience how challenging and sucky this dark night of the soul feels.
Add to it a world that feels like it’s gone batshit CRAZY and the only action that seems to be waking people up out of their zombie state is violence (alas, Pokemon Go seems to be here to save the day for the zombies). Sometimes, all I can do is sigh… and dig deeper.
When you’ve reached this point, there’s only one thing you can do. Be kind. Do something kind.
Wait. Here me out before you groan and roll your eyes and ask me how I expect you to be kind to them.
See, research shows that volunteering helps the volunteer feel more socially connected, warding off loneliness and depression. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests that people who help others see lower blood pressures, a bonus for physical health!
The ancient yogi’s have known a thing about this for awhile. Yoga Sutra II.33 says, “When presented with disquieting thoughts or feelings, cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude.” It’s hard to focus on your crap when you’re helping someone who has it worse than you, right?
But you don’t even have to go sign up for a charitable organization to be helpful. Smile at the person who’s grumpy. Hold the door for someone. Keep a car length distance in traffic for the person who’s in a bigger hurry or paying less attention than you to cut in. Give hugs. Ask people genuinely how they’re doing. Ask people if they need some help. Do random acts of kindness. And expect nothing in return.
Do it because it keeps you from putting anymore energy on what’s NOT working for you. I am willing to bet you’ll be surprised at how much your energy lifts. There’s a lot we can’t change in the world right now, but being kinder isn’t one of them. So do your part.
(psst- I have an act of kindness for YOU. Go check it out here.)