At the risk of going all peace~love~and happiness on you, spreading positive energy with each other and with the environment around us is a win-win situation for us all. Don’t we all want to feel our lives are positively impacting those around us? Like we are making a difference in this world?
Watching the inauguration of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden today, I felt overwhelming hope for my country. The singing, the pomp and performance of these traditions filled my heart with hope for new change and new unity in these great United States. Perhaps I am an optimist. Perhaps I am long overdue for a little hopeful thinking after Covid and after the tumultuous last 4 years. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a little positivity.
Some of us get the opportunity to reach people on a large scale, qualify for the Nobel Peace Prize, or become an influencing guru — but for the rest of us regular folk, it is nice to know that we can make the world a better place. We may not all reach high offices or high status in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference right where we are. A culmination of little things, after all, adds up to a life well-spent and a soul others will be pleased to meet.
Here’s a quick list of 15 easy things you can do to make a difference.
- Share a smile with everyone you meet. — Smiling is infectious. Too often we walk with our faces down or stern, perhaps staring at our phones, oblivious to the people around us. Look up. Smile at people. If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway.
- Sing. — Sing, hum, dance, make music, celebrate music. Music is one of the things that make us experience life more fully and connect to our innermost creativity. Listen to classical music, tribal music, and nature music as well, not just what is trending. Get human at its most organic. This celebratory energy is contagious.
- Plant something. — Flowers, plants, moss spores, trees; plant something! Nurturing and giving back to the soil is a great way to give back to the earth that gives you life.
- Generate less trash. — Be more mindful of the waste you are creating. If we all made a bigger effort to be less wasteful and kept potential waste in mind with our purchasing efforts, what a difference we all could make.
- Listen to someone who needs to be heard. — People are hurting. Giving someone just a bit of your time with non-judgemental listening, making them feel heard, has the ability to change a life. Take a moment to give this of yourself. It costs nothing and has a big reward.
- Give. — Be more generous! You never know what your small generosities can mean to others. Think about how you can be more generous with what you have been given.
- Thank someone. — No, thank everyone, especially the underappreciated or marginalized people who rarely receive thanks for doing what they do.
- Get involved. — Volunteer in your community, take part in grass-roots efforts that improve the community, vote; be a productive member of your community in a positive way.
- Clean something, naturally. — Think of all the chemicals we use on our bodies, in our homes; replace some of these with more natural products and clean something. Cleaning things is caring for them and making a more pleasant environment for everyone around you. Do it in an environmentally responsible way and it is a win-win.
- Restore an area. — Pick up litter, trash, clear away debris, remove invasive vines so that the trees and natural environment can flourish. We humans have created quite a mess of our natural spaces. Clean some of that up or join a community effort to do so.
- Be mindful of others. — Being kind and thoughtful isn’t always the easiest thing to do but it does get easier with practice. Practice kindness daily. Sometimes just a kind word or thoughtful action can be enough to turn someone’s day around. Refuse to get drawn into negative headspace by others who are struggling.
- Be patient. — Patience with the slow grocery bagger. Patience with the slow driver ahead of you. Patience with the screaming toddler. It is difficult sometimes but your calm spirit will help to diffuse the situation rather than escalate it. Perhaps that slow bagger has a lot on their mind with a sick mother at home and bills they are struggling to pay. Not knowing the situation, be patient with them.
- Share your gifts. — Everyone has gifts and talents. Share them with the world around you and look for ways that your particular strengths can benefit others. Mentor someone who is nurturing the same gifts as you and could use your help.
- Choose good. — Click. It’s that easy to choose good. Read the good. Choose the good. Share the good. Be careful what you read, watch, and repeat to others. Are you choosing the good — spreading gossip? One hurts, one heals — you choose!
- Practice tolerance, acceptance, and celebrate diversity. — I cannot express the importance of this enough. We are all human. Look for the things that unite us. Be tolerant of others who are different than you and treat them as equals. Celebrate diversity and uniqueness.
These are just a few things. What would you add to the list? If you could take just a few of these suggestions and make even small efforts, and your neighbor did the same, and another, and another and another — it adds up.
Christina Ward is a poet and nature writer from North Carolina. She felt like sharing a bit of positive energy with her writing today.
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