Being healthy is a lifetime pursuit – not a destination. This month, I will be sharing tips and information on how to be – and stay — healthy.
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” –Albert Schweitzer
The quickest way I have found to feel better about myself is to find a way to help someone else. And I’m not alone in that thinking. Research supports that practicing random acts of kindness is one of the surest ways to insure a happy, healthy life. Whatever you call it: giving service, volunteering, or pay it forward, research has shown that when you help and lift others, it lowers your stress level and blood pressure, extends your lifespan, reduces chronic pain, and promotes overall happiness.
I find it’s relatively easy to give service or volunteer when I am asked. Take someone to the doctor? Of course. Bring in a meal? You bet. Can you help out for a couple of hours at a community event? Why not.
Paying it forward – showing gratitude for an act of kindness shown to you by helping out a stranger — is a little trickier. It means that I need to be on the lookout for opportunities to serve and create opportunities to give back.
Last Memorial Day, my husband and I went out to breakfast after we attended a community Memorial Day event. My husband noticed a veteran sitting in a booth with his wife. My husband flagged down their waitress and said he wanted to buy their breakfast. Why? Because we were grateful for the service that veteran gave our country on our behalf. Pay it forward.
Open a door for a young mom trying to manage her kids. Why? Because I’ve been in that situation before and I appreciated it when someone lent me a hand. Pay it forward. Congratulate a stranger on a walking trail. Why? Because I like encouragement for my efforts and just because I have my earbuds in, it doesn’t mean I’m too preoccupied to be ignored.
Pay it forward. Say hi to a teenager. Why? Because I remember feeling invisible some days as a teenager and who knows; my quick hello might be the only personal recognition that kid gets all day. Pay it Forward.
I love this Pay it Forward idea shared by my sister’s friend, Kim. She got the idea from a blog she read. When it was her 40th birthday, she decided to do 40 random acts of kindness to strangers to celebrate all the good she had received in her life for the past 40 years. Some of the things she did:
Left quarters and laundry detergent at a laundromat
Made treats for her kids’ bus driver, fast food workers and for her mail carrier
Paid for the person behind her in the fast food drive up
Delivered cupcakes to the staff at the high school
Placed dollar bills in the toy department of the dollar store
She got really creative and it took her a week to accomplish her goal, but she felt amazing when she was done. And you can bet, she brightened a lot of total strangers’ lives in the process. Pay it forward.
Visit with a neighbor. Drop off a pizza. Write a thank you note. Send a card to let someone know you are thinking of them. Do unto others as you would want someone to do unto you.
What have you done to Pay it Forward?
#9: Stay Healthy and Be Healthy: Pay It Forward
Make opportunities to serve. When I look for ways to lift and help someone else, not only do I brighten their day, I am extending my life, easing my burdens, lowering my stress level and have a happier, healthier life.