In several posts thus far I have talked about kindness, being kind to yourself and to others. Spending your day holding onto anger, whether toward yourself or someone else, truly wreaks havoc on your mood, thoughts, and behaviors. When you go about the day angry, it is you who suffers more than anyone else. Yes, saying mean things to someone (which I don’t recommend!) may make that person hurt for a bit; but while they move on, you will be holding onto that poison hatred and negativity in your body. A favorite quote of mine is… “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Having compassion toward yourself and toward others will increase positivity in your life, allow you to slow down and appreciate moments in life, and will increase your sense and expression of gratitude. Being compassionate toward yourself affords you more positive self-talk, and will keep you on track and in the right direction. If you spend your day hating yourself for overeating, skipping a workout, or getting off track, it will only make you more likely to move further off track and away from your goals. Likewise, if you spend your day mad at someone else, whether that stranger who cut you off in traffic, or your partner for a recent fight, those negative emotions have a strong ability to change your behavior for the worse.
Finding compassion for others increases positivity and is a nice distraction and positive coping technique. When you are feeling down or weak, it is a great idea to reach out to someone else and remind them how great they are, what you value about them, or how proud of them you are. Now, you have improved your emotional state for the day, and infected someone else with that same positivity!
Read “Survival of the Kindest” to find 11 ways to live a more compassionate life from Mindful magazine for more information related to living compassionately. Practice these tips with other people, and with your own personal compassion… all will serve to increase your positive ideation toward yourself and others throughout the day.
Tip: Today when someone is driving too slow, or cuts you off, try to react with empathy and think of what they may be going through today. Maybe they are lost in thought about a recent fight with a loved one, grieving over a recent loss, or rushing to the hospital for an unexpected emergency. Remind yourself you have likely been that person before… I know I have mindlessly cut someone off before, simply without thinking and lost in my own thought.