Occasionally we need a little break from our routines. That’s while from time to time I will be posting an installment called the ‘Daily Flourish’. These small tasks are designed to take about 10 or 15 minutes (certainly no longer than 30 minutes). These are not instructional. They are not going change your life. But they are like the emotional equivalent of the 7th inning stretch. I might suggest a meditative exercise, an activity, a gesture, or just to think about something. They’ll be something that introjects a different experience into your day that hopefully will be a pleasant or at least useful addition to your routine. You could think of these as the behavioral equivalent of the intermezzo course—just a little variety. It’s my hope that they will be enjoyable, refreshing, and fun!
For today’s flourish, try to go out of your way to be kind to another person. What that means is up to you, but here are some suggestions.
- Call a person you haven’t been in touch with and see how they are.
- Offer to run an errand for someone.
- Offer to give your partner a neck-rub or massage.
- Leave someone you care about a small note telling them how you feel about them. Alternatively place the note so that they will find it unexpectedly sometime in the future.
- Offer to take a friend or co-worker to lunch.
- Leave an extra-generous tip for a server.
- Pay for the person in line behind you for coffee (or pay for the car behind you at a toll or put money into a vending machine for the next person).
- Buy flowers for your partner for no reason.
- Leave a encouraging note or a small cash gift inside a self-help book at a bookstore.
- Send a card to a hospitalized child through cardsforhospitalizedkids.com or to a random person in the world through www.postcrossing.com
As you do these things just notice how you feel. It’s not necessary to feel any particularly way after doing this. Just accept whatever feelings come. But if you do notice a positive feeling, try to savor it. The point is not necessarily to feel good, but to experiment with behaving in a way that is in line with the values of caring for others or believing in the principle of altruism.
Before you do this action, predict how rewarding this task on a scale of 1 (not rewarding at all) to 10 (extremely rewarding).
Rewarding (Prediction) ________(1-10)
After you have completed the action rate how rewarding it actually was.
Rewarding (Actual) ________(1-10)