Welcome back to the A to Z of Healthy and Happy. I really struggled this week with narrowing down what I would bring to you for the letter G , there really are so many possibilities! But a conversation with a gorgeous friend (in her gorgeous store) and other chats about community that popped up for me, made it clear the message I needed this week, I'm hoping it's a good fit for you too.
One of the best ways to find deep contentment and happiness is not to receive, but to give. Who knew that Christmas message trotted out when we were young (and possibly rolled our eyes at) really really is true? It's natural to yearn for happiness and often when we fall in to the trap of viewing the highlight reel as a competition it's easy to feel that there isn't anything left over for us.
But the truth is that generosity frees space in our lives to receive the things that we truly need to make us happy. Here are a few things that you can give away, no matter what your personal situation is, that will build not only your own happiness but your community's.
Give your time
Let's start with something many will sigh and see as the greatest burden to give. After all so many of us are tied up in being busy, or fighting being busy that we just don't want to add more to our to do list. But you don't have to give those hours you don't feel you have volunteering to give your time. Giving your time can be practised in small chunks every day, building up to a big beautiful happy high for you.
Some simple ways to give your time are:
Answering questions people have on social media, pick one a day that is in your field of expertise. Not only will you make someone happy that you've helped them, you're getting to use the skills and knowledge that make you unique and that feels awesome.
Checking in with elderly or isolated neighbours, you don't have to take on huge responsibilities or chores to make an impact in someones life. If you have a neighbour who is frail or alone, just stopping by once a week for five minutes to see how they're doing and say hi will make a big difference to their days. And because you're taking a bit of time to tend your community and build connections you'll be building your resistance to loneliness, which is a great way to increase your happiness.
Give your stuff
One of the things that makes many of us feel trapped, busy and miserable is an overabundance of things that we don't really need. They take up our space and instead of making us feel blessed they make us feel burdened. I'm very serious about the impact spring cleaning your home can have on your state of mind, and having a good deep cleanse means you'll be able to pass on things that are too good to throw out to people in need. You don't have to put them straight into the charity bin either, take a few minutes to have a ring around and see if the things you no longer need could help a shelter or people rebuilding their lives out. You'll feel lighter by unburdening yourself and you'll feel the joy of helping others.
Give your privilege
No matter how tight your situation is, if you're reading this blog you have a computer, electronic device or access to one, that's an amazing privilege that we often take for granted. Sure we all have problems, but a lot of them are of the better set of problems to have. Most of us are not homeless or going without food. Think about those lovely privileges we benefit from each day, whether it's having a job, staying home and having time, or just living in relative peace and safety. Now think about how you can share the benefits of these things with others. It might mean donating your money, or your voice to others who don't have privilege. If you're a blogger there are amazing resources that you have at your disposal to blog for social good, see Carly Findlay or Eden Riley for some great examples of people pushing through their own challenges, recognising their privilege and using it to help others. Not only will it benefit others but it will recenter your focus on the good you have in your life and away from your hardships , which will make you happier.
Give your kindness
This one is the easiest and cheapest and potentially has the biggest impact of all the things you can give. Simple acts of kindness make a huge difference in other's days and in yours. Speaking to people on public transport, being grateful and gracious to the people who serve you in stores (yes even Prue and Trude), helping people that you see struggling with their load; all of these will take only seconds out of your day and yet have the ability to make you and so many others happy. If you treat people kindly they will in turn shine that kindness on to others and so on, it's a small simple trick that has amazing implications.
Give a sh*t
Finally I want you to stop ignoring the things that aren't right in this world and start challenging yourself and others to change them. It's not someone else's job, it is all of ours. Finding your passion isn't just about finding the positive action that you enjoy and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes finding your passion is about what sets you on fire, what makes you so flamingly angry that you want to rail against the world. Don't just get mad, give a sh*t and make change happen. Even small steps towards improving something are important and clear the path to substantial change. Won't you be happier if instead of being upset by a situation or issue you have found a way to make it better?