Yesterday, after I had loaded some groceries into the back of my Babemobile, a smiling elderly gentlemen approached me and offered to take my cart back to the store. That made my day.
No, he didn't turn cartwheels or compliment my haircut or sing showtunes (although that would have been cool, too). He smiled and did something nice. In my book, that's huge.
I read about a recent study in which test subjects who kept a daily journal and listed at least one positive thing that happened each day tested higher for emotional happiness than the subjects who recorded at least one negative thing each day. Well, no duh, but it's worth trying. I have been working to adopt a peaceful, Zen-like attitude towards others, and I really think it's reduced my stress levels.
Say a guy cuts me off in traffic. Instead of yelling something inappropriate or giving him a special finger, I try to walk in his shoes. Perhaps he is suffering from a financial disaster and is late to an interview for a job that could put food on the table and keep a roof over his family's head. Or maybe he's just an idiot and not a very good driver. Either way, I'm glad not to be him. I take a deep breath and feel my inner peace returning. Ohm.
I smile and say "thank you" to restaurant servers and salespeople. Having worked in the service industry, I know how hard it is to deal with jerks and rude people. It usually gets me good service, and even if it doesn't, it makes me feel better knowing that no one will be shoving pins into my voodoo doll at the end of a tough shift.
I think everyone should try at least a week of being kind to others. Perhaps we should call it Random Acts of Kindness Week. Or, if being kind is too hard for some people, they could start by just not acting like pricks. We could call that Don't Be A Prick Week. I'll start contacting my legislators.