There is always beauty and kindness to be found in the world, but some days it feels like we need to look a little harder to see it. In a world full of chaos, negativity, sadness, and fear we can be overwhelmed by these thoughts and emotions. In these moments it is difficult to feel considerate and loving, but this is often when we need it the most.
Loving kindness is a way to live your life by practicing self love, recognizing good and passing it on in the world, and being more humane. It is up to us not to just expect something from the world, but to offer what we can. When we are kind or act out of love this will spread like a ripple effect bringing joy to more people. If you have ever been the recipient of a heart felt gesture then you know how this can change your entire outlook and lead to you being more considerate of the next person you encounter.
We don't need to wait for someone to be nice to us to start this practice or to end suffering even for a moment. The kind act might need to be generated first by someone willing to change the cycle of negativity they are stuck in. The joy of love and kindness isn't just felt by the receiver, but by the giver as well.
The following are 5 ways to help you live more heart centered and practice loving kindness to spread joy to others as well as bring more happiness to yourself.
1. Heart Centered Yoga
If we are overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling less than positive, slowing down and practicing some self love is the way to start. You can try this practice with the focus of self care, or you can dedicate your practice to others by using this time to think fondly of another person and wish them well. This is also a great time to try out a positive affirmation, practice gratitude, and/or think of something kind and beautiful in the world right now.
2. Loving Kindness Meditation
A loving kindness meditation could follow your yoga practice or it can be done on its own. Taking time to meditate in any form is positive, but a loving kindness meditation is a guide to help you get to the mindset that our daily lives are often in opposition with. We will practice a short version of this in Love & Meditate, but here is another option to try as well by Mindful.
3. Kindness with Words & Notes
We all know what a difference it makes when the person on the phone is nice, when the cashier at the sales desk in the store smiles at us, or when we feel relaxed with the front desk staff of our doctor's office. These people can make or break an experience and we have that same power. Kind words to a stranger can change their entire day and lead to them spreading that kindness in their next encounter.
Verbal communication isn't the only place this matters. When is the last time you sent a hand written note? This could be a thank you letter or just a simple note sharing a compliment. Although hand writing a letter brings an extra spark of joy, you can also use technology for good as well. Sending another person a nice message or sharing a way they've inspired you is a quick way to offer kindness, love, and joy.
4. Gifting Joy
We don't have to spend money to bring joy to others, despite what companies want us to believe. However, a thoughtful gift can be a kind way to lift another's spirits. It's not about the price tag though, it really is about the thought put into it. Donating gently used items to someone in need or baking a treat can be included here as well and is a way to share without spending money. In addition, handmade items are a wonderful gift to show that you care. Other ideas if you have the means include: care packages to someone who is ill or that has received bad news, that just started college, or that recently moved or has been deployed. You can send gifts anonymously as well to offer a great surprise to someone that might really need it. If you decided to go the route of purchasing, try to use your community and support local businesses or small businesses and artists.
5. Time Well Spent
Volunteer work shouldn't just be for a college application, but life happens and we get busy and that is okay. If you have been fortunate and currently have all your basic needs met, you might want to take a moment to find a way that you could help others. This can be as simple or as time consuming as you want to make it. Taking time to volunteer in your community or to offer a service is a way to use your energy and your resources for good. Could you offer mentorship? Do you enjoy working with kids? Would your time be well spent at a food bank? Have you been financially fortunate enough to offer money to organizations or people in need? If you are unsure where to start you can begin with a google search in your area, reach out to your alma mater, ask local businesses, and reach out to community leaders. You never know where one of these experiences could lead you, but offering kindness in this way will increase your own happiness as well.
Do you have other ideas to spread more love and kindness? Comment or send me a message.