“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend—that would be giving as the angels give.” – George MacDonald
With a New Year comes New Year’s resolutions, but here are 5 ways you can change yourself and the world around you without having a gym membership or a diet:
1. Gratitude – Everyone likes to feel appreciated for what they do. Pay it forward by expressing your thanks to those around you; don’t forget the people in service industries, like restaurants, retail chains, auto shops, and coffee houses. A simple and genuine “thank you” goes a lot further than you think.
2. A positive attitude – It’s easy to get in a mindset of complaint and negativity. That’s why this world could use more people like you: people who are willing to put on their best faces against adversity, who are willing to talk about the positive, and change what they can change, instead of always talking about what they can’t change or don’t like.
3. Smiling – One of the simplest ways to give a personal gift to everyone you meet is to smile. It requires no conversational skills, no special training, and you don’t even need to have a certain personality type. Even the biggest of introverts can simply smile at someone in passing to spread the happiness. It’s a contagious act and makes the world seem a little brighter.
4. Putting others first – In our world of fast-paced activity and me-first mentality, it is extremely influential to actually think of others first. Letting someone go ahead of you in the store checkout line because they have three kids and a cartful of items; making a meal for your spouse, when they normally cook for you or you usually order out; giving the last piece of pizza or cake to someone else in your office. Small gestures can go a long way in helping others feel important.
5. Making your voice heard – Think of this not as a resolution, but as an attitude change. You see things on the news, on social media—things that make you sad or outraged. Sharing a viral news story with awful endings or consequences may stir up similar feelings in others, but the best thing you can do is find a way to help. Donating $5 to a charity against animal cruelty, volunteering one hour a month at a nursing home (in response to abuse of the elderly), or attending a local gun control meeting after hearing about another school shooting. This type of action can actually allow your voice to be heard and for change to take place. And sharing that type of news with your friends can encourage them to participate, too.
About Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender, which includes 10 free Peace and Balance tools.
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