Everyday Gestures

Think about the last time you got a nice, thoughtful surprise.  It might have been a little something, perhaps a coffee on your desk, or a grand gesture, like a brand new ipad, but knowing someone else is thinking of you and deliberately contributing to your happiness is a wonderful feeling. 

Valentine's Day was a mere two weeks ago; is that the last time you extended this same kindness to someone in your life?  For some reason, we seem to have overwhelmingly decided as a culture to reserve kindness and thoughtfulness for a few keys days a year.  Birthdays, select holidays, and one-time achievements consume the majority of our efforts in giving to those we love. 

Please don't misunderstand me: I LOVE HOLIDAYS.  I LOVE THOUGHTFUL.  I LOVE GIVING.  I don't have a problem with any of that.  If you make an effort on these occasions, by all means, continue.  What I am reflecting on today is simply being mindful of how you treat others everyday and going out of your way to show people you care each day.  This does NOT have to be grand.  Kind words, smiles, emails, and jokes suffice.  The thought is to get into the habit of appreciating your friends, family, coworkers, and others you interact with daily.  Putting these everyday gestures into practice will not only make the other person feel special, appreciated, and happy, but also provide you with the same contentment. 

It's not that we don't know what might brighten someone's day, sometimes we just get so busy that we forget to think about the needs of those we love.  This is a quick reminder to make it a part of your daily life and be mindful of your attention to this practice.

Below are a few ideas, but I know you've got your own wonderful ideas, too (post below).

- send a quick card or note (although, to be honest, this is a struggle for me, not because I don't buy the card or stamps on time, but because physically going to the post office is an unreasonably daunting task for my brain sometimes)

- email an e-card

- write a letter or email

- bake a favorite treat (rice-krispie treats are easy and quick!--like you could do it before work quick)

- print and frame a picture of a memory you've shared

- give flowers! or even ONE flower

- make homemade chocolate covered peanuts or pretzels

- offer to watch someone's children or pets when you know they're stressed

- extend an invitation for dinner or lunch

- share your time and/or one of your skills with someone else (you've got tons of skills--use 'em!)
          for example: I give yoga classes to my girlfriends. 
                               My mom, a massage therapist, gives massages to family members.

Image Credit: Meg Takamura
Image Source: IZA Stock, Getty Images
What are your favorite ways to show the people in your life you care?  What mindful effort do you put into making other people's day better? 

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please share in the comments!