My Suggestion For A Different Kind of “Year End Gift”

Act of Kindness Quote

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This time of year, we all seem to get more mail, more e-mail, and more solicitations from charities asking for our “year end gift”. It’s the time of year that charities know that many of us are looking to donate to our favorite cause, so that we can get a little tax benefit from Uncle Sam. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this kind of giving. I applaud it. I encourage it. But, let me suggest a different kind of “year end gift”.

Author and speaker Jon Acuff tweeted out before Christmas:

It inspired at least one guy to do the same:

And then there’s the story of how one church in Ohio got together to bless the staff working hard at a local Waffle House with a huge tip of well over $3,500. All five women behind the counter embraced each other and cried.

I think this “random acts of kindness thing” is really catching on. Now granted, there’s a certain “specialness” about giving to folks working around the Christmas holidays, but this same principle can be applied before the end of this year.

You just have to take the time to look for the opportunity. Discuss it with your spouse. Talk about it with your family.  Talk about it with your closest friends. There’s just something about giving an unexpected blessing to total strangers who had no idea it was coming.

Go ahead and plan it. Do it before the end of the year, and make it a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR for someone who might need it more than you know.

Act of Kindness 2

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5 Simple Ways to Be Happy Now!

 

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When I used to be on the radio, this was one of my absolute favorite segments to share. I loved it so much, in fact, that I saved it in a drawer in my bedroom. Now, I’m excited to share it with you. It is packed with SO much practical wisdom!

Aristotle famously said that rituals define who we are. And scientific research backs that up! You can actually take charge of your own happiness and even boost it by doing certain things. Researchers at the University of California Riverside reviewed some 51 different studies that tested attempts to increase happiness through different types of positive thinking and they found that the following practices can SIGNIFICANTLY enhance your happiness:

1/BE GRATEFUL: Many in those studies were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that people reported a LASTING increase in happiness…over weeks and even months…after implementing the habit. And even more surprisingly, they didn’t even have to send the letter! Yes, even when people just wrote the letters but never sent them, they STILL reported feeling happier! One of my favorite quotes is: “It’s not the happy person who is grateful, it’s the grateful person who is happy!”

2/BE OPTIMISTIC: Another practice you should try is optimistic thinking. Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future. For example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling…and then they were told to describe that image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people also reported increased feelings of well-being.

3/COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: People who practice writing down three (just 3) good things that have happened to them each and every week showed a significant boost in happiness. See, focusing on the positive actually gives you reasons to be glad.

4/USE YOUR STRENGTHS: One particular study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then they were asked to try to USE those strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try to tell jokes or funny stories to cheer up sad friends. Doing that helps YOU as much as the other person!

5/COMMIT ACTS OF KINDNESS: Yes, it IS more blessed to give than receive. Those behind this list have an iPhone app called “Live Happy Now” that you can download on iTunes to boost your well being. But if you don’t want to download the app, just pay for someone’s meal behind you the next time you hit a drive through.

Try implementing these, and you might just feel your heart swell… kinda like this: