10 From GEM:
10 Cool Ways To Be Good And Do Good
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
Doing something to help others—to assist them on the road to happiness—is the quickest and easiest way to gain a happier, more fulfilled life. You don’t have to make grand gestures. Small acts of kindness and goodness have a huge impact because they are often unexpected and they mean the most. Read on for 10 cool things you can do every day to be good and do good.
1. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
It’s easy to forget, but no matter how unfavorable our situations are, we all have many reasons to be grateful. We don’t exist in vacuums—many people have a hand in who we are and who we strive to become. Whether it’s the barista who makes a perfect cup of coffee for you every day or your colleagues or coworkers who make your job easier, showing appreciation for what they do will make you and them feel good. Gratitude has been linked to higher well-being and lower depression. So get out there and sincerely thank someone today.
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2. UPLIFT OTHERS
It’s easy to look around and find ways to make someone’s day. Start with a warm smile and ask someone how she really is doing. Post a positive quote on Facebook. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Pay the tab for a person behind you (This once happened to me at a tollbooth and I floated for two days afterwards). Be a good listener. Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn. And so on. There are hundreds of ways to uplift others and your kind acts encourage the recipients to do the same for others.
3. CONSIDER GIVING A MICROLOAN
Check out sites like kiva.org to make a small loan to someone in a developing country who needs a little money to become self-sufficient. According to Kiva, “Billions of people around the world don’t have access to typical banking services. Sometimes providing just one small loan to people in poverty can be enough to help them become profitably self-employed and financially stable.” You’re not just donating money; these are loans, and with a 98.96% repayment rate, you have an excellent chance of getting your money back and doing it all over again.
4. BECOME A VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER
One roadblock to volunteerism is that many organizations require on-site help. This is not always feasible for people who are shut in the house, work odd hours, or have inflexible schedules. Consider becoming a virtual volunteer. From the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), you can help organizations with newsletters, research, or marketing. There are many avenues to virtual volunteering, so visit volunteermatch.org and search for opportunities.
5. EXTEND OLIVE BRANCHES
Though not always easy to do, offer peace and reconciliation to someone you don’t like or someone with whom you don’t get along. You don’t need to become his or her new best friend; you just need to let them know that you won’t let rancor or hard feelings rule the day. The other person will be pleasantly surprised. Whether or not the person receives your peace offering the way you intended is irrelevant. You still did an important thing.
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6. PAY GENUINE COMPLIMENTS
General compliments about someone’s clothes or haircut are easy and all too common. They are nice, but try giving genuine compliments that speak to who a person really is. Compliment a person’s character or how he makes you feel. Try saying something like, “I was impressed with the way you handled your boss’s anger” or “I love being around you because you make me feel good.” The kind of compliment that’s tailored just for one person has major impact.
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7. FIGHT ROAD RAGE
Driving—especially during peak travel times—really brings out the ogre in some people. You can fight back with your kindness. If someone wants to merge into your lane, don’t try to speed up or pull forward so she can’t get in. It’s needlessly aggressive and will slow down traffic behind you. Instead, let her in with a wave and a smile. She gets in and traffic keeps moving. Everybody wins.
8. DONATE WHAT YOU
HAVE BUT DON’T NEED
Look in your closet for clothes you don’t wear anymore, especially casual or business attire for work or a job interview. They can be donated to organizations that assist people in getting back on their feet. Look in your cabinets for non-perishable foods you’re not going to eat to donate to your local food pantry. Please be thoughtful about your donations. Make sure that the food you donate isn’t in torn or busted packages and that it isn’t nearing expiration. When donating clothing, select items that aren’t ripped, permanently stained, or hopelessly out of style. Even if people are going through tough times and are grateful for donations, they still want to maintain their dignity.
9. CARE FOR YOURSELF
Helping others really does start with you. Taking care of your health—physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual—honors your commitment to yourself, which in turn enables your ability to do good in all ways.
10. APPLY THE GOLDEN RULE
The maxim “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” can be looked at from many perspectives: religious, sociological, philosophical, or psychological. Whichever way you’re inclined to look at this rule, it is one that is universally accepted, understood, and appreciated. Imagine what could be if the whole world lived this way.
Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Brighten Your Day
What about you? How do you make a difference? Do good by sharing your ideas with us below.
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Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a writer, a work at home mother, and a new business owner. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.