The gifts we give, we want them to have meaning. It’s why we search for that perfect something for someone special. We want our gifts to be valued, so we spend generously. We want the gifts we give to make a difference, so we try to think of what people really need.
You are a beautiful and generous soul, especially to those you love. You deserve to feel that sense of fulfillment when you give, but if it’s not what’s happening within you, maybe sharing in any or all of these 5 gifts will do the trick!
Yeah – fresh air. This is important stuff! Living inside all winter can aggravate your lungs with stale, recycled air and it’s dusty allergens. Fresh air is inspiring, invigorating and refreshing! Your body responds to a deep breath of fresh air mentally and emotionally, and you know this! Remember the last time you lost your temper or felt really really disappointed. You wanted some alone time, so you took a walk outside and got some….that right! FRESH AIR!!
No matter what the weather, put your gear on and go outside! Give your body a big breath of fresh air and feel it. Take a walk out in nature and notice the difference it makes! Bring your friends or family members, especially the ones who need a breath of fresh air and notice, acknowledge and validate the difference it makes in them. “Wow Mom, you’re cheeks are so rosey and you look so vibrant!”
Fresh air costs nothing and deeply enlivens us! Share this gift generously!!!
Smiles are the easiest thing in the world to give, when you’re feeling them! (And they require some serious strength when life sucks.) When we share our smiles it makes a difference and usually a really big difference.
I know of some pretty crabby people, and when they smile, it is exciting! Laughter erupts and fun ensues. “Look at Grandpa! He likes it!” Now everyone gets engaged in the joy that lit up grandpa’s smile. This is how much of a difference is made when some smiles! I can imagine what life would be like with them if they smiled more!
Smiles, like laughter, can be contagious! It’s the good contagious! The world needs more smiles. Just find a reason to turn up the corners of your mouth and then make eye contact. Notice your contribution to Joy to the World!
Kindness is a gift that gives back because of the natural flow of Karma….well not just Karma. Evidently, Kindness is good for your heart – really – physiologically good for your heart!! David R Hamilton, PhD explains in his 2011 blog The 5 Side Effects of Kindness,
“Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Of recent interest is its significant role in the cardiovascular system.
Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.”
Kindness is something we can pay forward to heart health and that’s an incredible incentive for finding the gentle, accepting and sweet side of ourselves. However, when we are not in a good place (emotionally/mentally) being kind can feel like a struggle. If that’s you, simply focus on being kind to yourself. Watch your inner critic and asks her/him to quiet down. Give yourself a reason to smile with some special treat.
If you have real hearth health concerns and struggle with kindness, then practicing acts of kindness becomes medicinal – something to do regularly and maybe with the help of someone else and truly you can begin to heal! That’s right, if you struggle with kindness, seek out kind people and be in their presence. Receive their kindness and learn from it. Give yourself time to process and change and kind you will become.
Kindness takes no energy and requires no money. Kindness is holding the door for the person behind you. Kindness is doing something unexpected, necessary and with good intention. “Here, please, you go first.” “I am glad we are together right now.”
Words can lift us up and they can let us down. Your words are yours to give, and you don’t even need many! You just need quality! Consider how you talk to yourself, your pets, your family members and friends. At worst, you are hating them and at best you are loving them – no matter which, you have words to describe them. Begin with the people easiest for you to compliment or dive right in there and find a way to compliment your arch nemesis – either way, start a practice of offering kind, appreciative words to the people, animals and things in your life. Notice the difference it makes in them, in you and in your environment.
Hey, but don’t get insincere with it…that’s like giving someone dog treats instead of cookies. They are going to see through your insincerity and it will leave a bad taste in their mouth. It will be the same if you insincerely compliment yourself – you won’t even take a bite because you know it’s a dog treat.
Be sincere. You don’t have to go deep. I have seen people uplifted by something as simple as complimenting someone’s favorite sports team having potential. Like, respect and appreciate yourself verbally. Let people know you like them respect them, appreciate them. It makes such a difference, it could change your entire community’s life.
We all do better with friends in this world. Be the Friend! If you have it within you to be a companion and to be a friend, especially to those who need friends, then do it! It costs you nothing and means everything to them.
Did you realize that loneliness increases the risk of dying by 26%? We are social creatures. We all deserve a friend in this world. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable this time of year. Here in central New York, seniors are often locked inside due to the ice and snow and long nights. Seniors who are alone often find themselves easily and gravely depressed this time of year. Imagine the difference a cup of tea with you would make to them.
You don’t need to be the “host with the most”. You don’t have to have the perfect words or manners. You can be yourself. You can be talkative or quiet. Simply be present. Give the gift of your companionship. Whether you silently help a neighbor shovel their walk, or you chat up Grammy’s ear visiting her at the home, or you simply sit next to someone for a few moments in an open and friendly way, enjoy the gift of companionship- that experience of not being alone.
Be Generous! It’s All Easily Freely Given and Shared!
Give these gifts abundantly to yourself and share with others! Share with me in the comments the difference you experience in sharing gifts like fresh air, smiles, kindness, compliments and companionship. In what way does it change your experience this holiday season?
Click here to see the first video accompaniment to my blog. I’m a technical work in progress, so sorry for the shaking here and there!