“Be the catalyst that motivates others to spread kindness.” -Dr. Perry
In other words, be thankful for what you have, and then share it. I’m not done writing those words when the retort wells up:
“How can I, when I’m in the midst of such stupidity/stress/poverty/(name your stressor)?”
The feeling is real. I will not dismiss the stress that overwhelms us.
But stress and gratitude are a choice. We can choose to respond passively or aggressively. By that, I don’t mean responding to slow drivers with road rage. Slow drivers aren’t necessarily comfortable with driving, which makes them inherently more dangerous if they are pushed to go faster than their capabilities. Cutting them off nearly ensures an accident, and makes them more shaky on the road the next time they have to drive. Stop a second, and think rationally. By being selfish, the next time you see this person, it will be worse. But they are acting so stupidly, you say. Yep. But you could just as easily do something nice, that makes that person more confident and a better driver next time.
Stop and consider: you have no idea what’s going on in that other driver’s world. Did their spouse just pass away, and they are driving home from the hospital? Are they sick, with no other means to get themselves to medical care? Is a child struggling to breathe in the back seat?
You don’t know. You truly don’t know.
By giving them some space and going safely around them, you’ve averted a larger problem. I, personally, appreciate you. You’ve made the world nicer.
Road rage may not be your issue. But the questions still apply. Whatever your personal trigger is, whether it’s irritating personalities or a workload that keeps you alternately buried or bored, you choose your response. But secondarily, by shifting your focus from your own inconvenience to the needs of the people around you, you move into a giving mindset. You rise from selfish taker to generous benefactor. You become a positive force in your circle.
Be that guy who makes a positive difference.
And the more often you choose to dwell in this mindset of helping and problem solving, the fewer stress hormones circulate in your system. You will be healthier. Sleep, digestion and immunity will all improve from simply lowering the cortisol levels in your blood. You may even lose weight, since cortisol affects how fat collects.
Who knew that being nice had such payoffs?
And someday, you will be the one needing a pass for some stupid stunt you just pulled. Some generous person will not get angry, but signal that you’re good and no harm was done.
How can you make a positive ripple today? Appreciate how you’ve been blessed. Maybe all you have is a kind word. Share the wealth and promote your own health!