Renee Olson is the Chief Leadership Officer for Neora, an innovative skincare and wellness solutions direct-selling company based in Addison, Texas. Renee is a regional sales trainer, inspiring motivator, public speaker and advocate for children’s causes. As a Board Member of the Neora Ripple Foundation, Renee is passionate about helping at-risk youth, families and communities across the globe and is actively involved in supporting our Big Brothers Big Sisters and World Vision International philanthropic partners.
Transform Your World with Acts of Happiness
Ever heard people talk about their pet peeves? Pet peeves are the small actions that others do that seem to get under one’s skin. When asked, people can generate a long list of offenses. Perhaps you can, too! In fact, the list can sometimes be so long that it has the potential to create an awkward tension and possibly lead to unkind moments.
Talk About Little Loves
What if you turned this around by asking about people’s little loves? Little loves are small actions that can lift one’s mood and brighten the day. Just changing this question can become an opportunity for kindness and empathy. And isn’t that what we need more of? Actions like holding a door open for someone, saying good morning and calling the person by his or her name, or sharing an honest compliment are just some of the things that can make someone’s day.
Rewiring Your Brain for Positive Change
In his best-selling book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson shares how meditation can help us open ourselves to kindness and empathy. He writes, “Meditate daily. Nothing fancy; just stop all activity, relax, and watch your breath go in and out for two minutes. This trains your brain to focus where you want it to, and not get distracted by any negativity in your environment. Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day.” Imagine the difference a daily random act of kindness can make to transform a stressful or negative environment. To borrow a lyric from an old campfire song, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”
In fact, studies show that actions like this can create a positive feedback loop between happiness and kindness so that one encourages the other. “The practical implications of this positive feedback loop could be that engaging in one kind deed (e.g., taking your mom to lunch) would make you happier, and the happier you feel, the more likely you are to do another kind act,” says Lara Aknin, a graduate student in psychology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of one of these studies.
Meditating and journaling are also a part of what author Shawn Achor calls creating daily happiness hygiene to go along with necessary physical practices such as sleeping and brushing our teeth. Achor says, “Happiness is NOT the belief that everything is great, happiness is the belief that change is possible.” So, by intentionally acting on random acts of happiness, we connect with the people around us and make the environment better for everyone.
A Month Full of Happy Acts
To further spark your creativity, join Neora and Live Happy as we honor the International Day of Happiness, March 20, by creating a happiness wall at your school or workplace. Guidelines and a free event kit are available to download at www.happyacts.org. You can also download our free calendar of happy acts to get ideas throughout this month.
Mark Twain once wrote, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” The opportunity to transform our environment starts with us and create ripples of kindness in our world.