Im currently taking part of a 21 Day Meditation experience created by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Each day it presents a centering thought to focus on and then we meditate using a mantra that vibrates with the topic of the day. Ive loved waking up and beginning my mornings with some light and positivity and even though some days I'm itching and scratching through the meditation as I think about what I want to eat for breakfast and then re run the episode of 'new girl' in my head... I push through!. Though I must admit two times I have fast forwarded the section because 14 minutes is real long for someone who's legs constantly move and twitch as they sip their coffee. Sorry Oprah! We can't be perfect ...
Last week there was a segment on Fulfillment. We were given the task to write down one moment each day that delivered us fulfillment. It could be fulfillment in the form of a full heart, a smile, heightened self esteem, courage... and most importantly it could be something you did for yourself, for another or something another did for you. I thought this was a nice thing to focus my attention on rather than the usual gratitude journal we have all begun, forgotten about, and re started.
It got me thinking though, what makes me more fulfilled ?...
Doing things for myself or for others
Nice gestures, adventures, challenges and everything in between that I provide myself certainly deliver a high level of fulfillment. Theres nothing like attempting your mums gnocchi and it ACTUALLY tasting almostttt like hers or achieving that goal thats been by your bed side.
However, buying a gift for a friend, running to their side when they need compassion, telling someone how much they mean to you, acknowledging someones improvement or goals and the smile that generally falls off their face into your heart provides almost a double dose of fulfillment.
A study in the Journal Of Science showed how performing acts of kindness for others can provide fulfillment and thus happiness. Participants were given a sum of money and divided into two groups: One group was to spend the money on themselves, and the other to purchase gifts for another person. The result was that the latter group reported higher levels of happiness. Another Case Study recorded 95 % of their 3,000 volunteers to experience an increased sense of well being both physically and emotionally and enhanced energy. A certain type of high that psychologists call a "helping high" because it is achieved by helping others not ourselves. For those of us who teach and help others grow - wouldn't you agree the joy you experience from seeing a student kick a goal excites you even more than you kicking that goal.
A lot of these studies point to the clear fact that by HELPING and GIVING and showing EMPATHY and COMPASSION we derive much higher levels of happiness than by competing and being selfish. This comes as no surprise Im sure to most of us but still, living in a place like LA its easy to fall into the act of fending for yourself, working yourself to the bone, chasing to the finish line and becoming selfish with your time. Close to 60% of our happiness comes from our relationships, friendships, and joint experiences... so with that in mind... what could you do this week to provide not only yourself but more importantly a close friend or stranger who needs it with some happiness in their heart.
I challenge you to perform 5 acts of kindness this week and see what it does to your mood, your perspective and your smile!!
Im going to start with reaching out to some people and letting them know just how valuable and worthy they are by thanking them for being in my life :)