You Don’t Need a Reason to Help Others

Can you imagine breakfast in bed on a Sunday? Can you remember an evening in a restaurant where the service was unbelievable? I can. These memories still warm my heart; I feel special and loved. I smile. I believe we all yearn to be cared for in some way.

And studies have shown that ownership of pets is mentally and physically healthy for us; reducing the risk of heart disease (1). I’m not advocating that we all need pets, but I believe we have an inherent need to care for someone or something. It is physically and mentally healthy for us.

Yes, I’m thinking about kindness today and how we are conditioned to give, expecting something in return. I know that for the most part, I look forward to the “thank you” and some sentiment of joy from the recipient of my gesture. I certainly believe it is returned kindness to acknowledge a gift freely given. Studies “…. found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise tested (2)”. That’s when I remind myself: Kindness is supposed to be given freely with no attachment or expectation of the outcome.

And my final ten minute thought is that we must not forget to care for ourselves so that we may shine. I was reminded of this in the yoga class I took last Sunday. Our instructor ended the session with gratitude. The first thing she acknowledged was our bodies, thanking them for supporting us. And suddenly it occurred to me: I don’t think we do that enough. Thank you muscles for letting me walk and sit; thank you heart for continuing to beat; thank you eyes for letting me see and ears for letting me hear. Thank you body for being there for me; I’ll endeavour to be there for you.

• 1 From the article “The Therapeutic & Health Benefits of Pets”
• 2 From the book “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being”, by University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman

Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done
Our free-write is back by popular demand: today, write about anything – but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

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