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Mind and Matter

Clarity . Connection . Comfort

Acts of kindness this season

Many of us tend to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season, strapped for cash, and unable to get into the holiday spirit. Lots of people feel pressured to buy loved ones the most ideal gifts, which can cause more angst than joy. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 27 percent of Americans often feel stressed about money during the holidays, while 47 percent occasionally feel obligated to buy the perfect presents. With that in mind, consider giving non-material gifts, like acts of kindness. Even small gestures can make a big difference. Studies reveal that these generous acts can increase joy and emotional well-being. Acts of kindness have also been shown to produce oxytocin, the hormone responsible for cultivating attachment and social bonds.

There are small things you can do to get yourself in the holiday spirit and improve the holidays for you and those around you. These acts of kindness will brighten the lives of everyone around you and possibly help improve your own mood.

Acts of kindness ideas you might consider this holiday season:

  • Leave a heartfelt voice mail for someone you care about.
  • Make plans to spend quality time together with a friend or family member.
  • Attend a friend’s holiday event.
  • Send a card or care package to anyone you think can use a pick me up. It can be anonymous if you prefer.
  • Let the person behind you have the parking spot.
  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Let someone move ahead of you in line at the grocery store.
  • Tell your co-workers how much you appreciate them.
  • Buy lunch for a homeless person.
  • Tip a street musician, look him/her in the eye, and say, “Thank you.”
  • Over tip the waiter/waitress
  • Smile at everyone you cross paths with and wish them, “Happy Holidays.”

Remember, little moments and interactions can make a difference in someone else’s life this holiday season. Reaching out with gifts of service and love, via small acts of kindness, will also enhance our own capacity to experience the spirit of the holidays.

Click here to read the full Mind and Matter Holiday Edition.