Today’s youth are growing up in a different world, a world of social media hashtags, trending topics, and instagram perfect photos. Despite the benefits that our current technology brings us, current studies suggest that young people today are feeling the strain of being “on” all the time. In fact, one study shows that with each successive younger generation, people are feeling lonelier and more depressed!
If you listen to a group of parents talking about their children, especially adolescents, you’ll find that depression and stress are two major topics of conversation. Parents definitely don’t need a study to tell them what they already know: life is more complicated for our kids than it was for us.
Clearly there is a bigger picture in our culture that needs to be addressed, but one of the simple ways we can all work on being happier – and that you can practice with your kids – is with the power of positive thinking.
Now you may think of positive thinking as woo-woo mumbo jumbo but according to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can actually bring health benefits, such as:
*lower rates of depression.
*lower levels of distress.
*greater resistance to the common cold.
*better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.
Sounds like something we all need right now, doesn’t it?
And although it may feel difficult to change your perspective if you tend towards more pessimistic thinking, it can actually be as simple as performing random acts of kindness for as little as two minutes a day!
Sean Achor, a researcher in happiness discovered through extensive research that anyone can retrain their brain to be positive. The secret? Perform random acts of kindness for two minutes a day for twenty-one days.
What does two minutes of random kindness look like?
*Take a shopping cart back to the store or cart corral.
*Take your neighbor’s trash cans in for them.
*Write a special note to someone (place in car, lunch, etc.).
*Smile and give a compliment to an acquaintance.
*Hold the door for someone.
We aren’t going to solve all of the world’s problems with random acts of kindness but you would be surprised by just how much of a difference you can make in two minutes a day. Not only will you make someone else’s day better, you’ll also improve your own mood and health.
Not so bad for just two minutes, right?
Want to give it a try?
Get together with your kids, friends, or partner, and make a commitment to all perform one random act of kindness for the next twenty-one days. Share what you’re doing with each other every day for motivation (here’s a great way to use texting or social media in a positive way!). At the end of twenty-one days, have a special brunch together and all share what you’ve noticed about yourself and others during your twenty-one days of kindness. I’m sure you’ll all feel so much better you’ll want to continue performing random acts of kindness indefinitely!