So another year begins and many of us love a fresh start to reset and hopefully do things a bit better than we did in 2016.
If I am honest I realised that I didn’t deal that well with the normal end of year stress in 2016 for a variety of reasons. (Hence the absence of my blog !)
If you are like me, you want to find a way to live with less stress and every year you come up with a new strategy – often for me which involves sitting on a beautiful beach for hours, great plan but not always achievable.
I have just returned from a few weeks holiday (vacation) and I did just that – lots of chilling , on beaches or by the harbour. While I was relaxing one of the books I was reading was the The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp . I can’t remember the last time I cried as much in a non fiction book . This book has much to say – and much that is challenging me . However as I process the challenges there is one thing that stands out to me right now .
Its Chapter Nine called the Miracle in Your Pocket that Breaks Stress.
In this Chapter, the Yale and UCLA study on Acts of Kindness is unpacked.
Turns out one way to reduce your stress is to do a small act of generosity for some-one else ! Apparently overall we do one or two acts of kindness a day as a matter of course but when we increase this at all, we see a tangible benefit to our well-being . Helping behaviours seem to lower stress. ( CBS Report of UCLA/ Yale study )
I love that science is showing us what the Bible has told us for centuries in so many verses – here is a favourite “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Prov 11.25.
I know we still need to exercise, eat well. delegate better, turn off emails at night etc etc to reduce stress – but it turns out we can also just do a simple act of kindness to another person, once more than usual, in a day and we will feel better. I love it ! What a classic win/win.
Before we get too sincere and want to only give to others without benefit to ourselves lets consider our design.
What if we are created in the image of the God who IS love – and that love is expressed in giving?
What if the God of the Universe created us to be giving beings?
What if the only way we really function in a healthy way is when we are being kind and giving?
What if giving to some-one else takes our eyes off our own problems long enough for us to see a solution, hear the still small voice or reconnect with the Prince of Peace?
Imagine a world where everyone just did one more act of generosity a day, a world with reduced stress and increased kindness (little John Lennon I know but bear with me), sounds to me like a world where the Kingdom of God is increasing.
Its simple and basic I know – but isn’t it the loveliest way of reducing stress in 2017?
(If you would like to get content like this in your email regularly and never have to look for it on social media again – just put your email address in the subscribe section . My goal is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and to encourage you on your journey, to be real and to be helpful!)