Instead of trying to feel happier and a deeper connection to the world through a mantra, noticing your breath, positive self talk working out or going to a yoga class (all fine techniques) try giving a gift to others. Give a gift to everyone you meet today. Whether or not they know they are receiving this gift is not important. It doesn’t have to cost any money. There is scientific evidence that giving activates the same parts of our brain as receiving. Here are 3 suggested presents you can give others that will in return make you feel more connected to others, put you in a better mood and most importantly give to others in a small way.
1. Connect to a stranger. If pay for an item today or sign for a package look the cashier or delivery person straight in the eyes and say thank you as if you were thanking your best friend or a family member. Don’t be fake. Don’t do it quickly. With effort look them straight in their pupils and make sure they know you are, then say “Thank you have great day” and this gift of intention, attention and kindness will make them feel better and thus infect you with the feelings the receiver is getting. I like to do this especially when I am feeling grumpy or disassociated from my surroundings and it never fails to ground me back to my buddha nature.
2. Wish someone “Health, Prosperity and Laughter”. This might be hard to actually say to strangers but you don’t have to. Silently wish that person who opens a door for you, the cashier or delivery person who won’t look at you (see above) or my favorite another driver who cut me off or won’t let me merge. In fact strangers who don’t treat you as nice as they should might need a gift the most. They are obviously wound up in their own narrative or story that is so important they can’t be bothered helping or giving kindness to others.
3. A free gift is a good an expensive one. Give someone a flower you picked (from a park not someones prize rose bush!). If you find money money in your pocket you forgot about give it to someone who could use it. If someone in a meeting gives you a free bottle of water don’t say no thank you, give it to a homeless person on your drive home. If your child draws you a picture give it to your mom, cousin or other family member. There are often many times when items are given to us or found in our surroundings that could give a smile to someone we know or a stranger.