Serotonin Surge

I read a post the other day that said an act of kindness not only affects the person who receives the kindness, but also the person who completes the kind act.  There is apparently a serotonin surge from an act of kindness for both the giver and receiver.  If the kind act is observed by others, they also receive the benefits of a serotonin surge.   A small act of kindness therefore is hardly ever small in terms of benefit.

Photo by Jasper Garratt on Unsplash

Ripples Observed

Today alone and it’s not even noon, I observed kindness in the following ways:

  • Taking my dogs for a walk, I encountered a railway employee who was wandering around in a safety vest.  My first impression was that I was going to get a lecture for “trespassing.”  I squared my shoulders and got ready to take my lumps. However to my delight instead of a negative interaction, he thanked me for putting the dogs on a leash. He went to explain he was protecting a peregrine falcon that had been take down by crows.  The wildlife rehabilitation people had been called and were on their way. He hoped he would not get in trouble with his boss.  We chatted for a minute, and I commended him for his kind action. Following this, I left because I did not want my dogs to upset the falcon any further. 
  • Purchasing vegetables at our local produce store, I was asked whether I would like a bag or a box.  Upon requesting the box, the cashier proceeded to pack my fruit and veggies in the most careful, thoughtful manner.  He expressed the hope that they would not get damaged on the ride home.  I think even if I had to ride home balancing them on the handlebars of my bike they wouldn’t budge he had done such a good job.
  • In the hairdresser’s, I witnessed one of the customers give up his seat to an elderly lady who came in on the arm of a family member.
  • Lastly, I was presented with a beautiful rose which my daughter had located for me along her walk.
A flower for my daughter!

Serotonin High

Many different scenarios, each involving a kindness.  While I was not on the receiving end of the kindness in all scenarios, they still left me feeling great with hope for humanity.  From my current serotonin surge, I can only conclude that small acts of kindness are indeed ripples in a pond with far-reaching effects.

What kind act have you noticed today?

Simple Things Make Me Happy

Squabbling over some prime sunflower seeds, the two Chestnut Chickadees chase each other around my feeder.  I find it baffling at times how birds can waste time arguing with each other when there is obviously plenty of food to be had by all…. are they siblings perhaps?  Hanging at odd angles, the Stellar Jay calmly dines aware that other than the cat that saunters through the yard on occasion it is the big kid on the block. Chittering away, my yard is alive with all the neighborhood birds that care to frequent my feeder.  Like a soap opera if you sit and watch long enough, you observe little dramas…the little one that seems to have to opportunistically sneak seed here and there, the boisterous one that is the first one to fly to the feeder after they are all scared away and the ones that seem to be prefer ground-level dining (I think they are the organic crowd).

This simple thing makes me happy.

These days, I find myself comparing the price of what something costs to the amount of enjoyment I am procuring from said activity and have come to conclusion that free or low cost makes me happy.  High-cost activities come with high expectations, and high expectations most often leads to a feeling of being let down or lacking.

Peace begins when expectations end – Anonymous Buddhist quote

This week, I watched a cheesy movie with my son on a weekday morning (I felt like such a rebel!).  If I had paid movie prices, I would have been very disappointed. Since it came from the library with the price tag of free, I had no expectations it would be good, looked forward to making fun of the cheese and saw it as an opportunity to knit and hang with my son.

This simple thing made me happy.

My sister, niece and nephew are coming for a visit this weekend, and I get to make my nephew a birthday ice cream cake.  Sure I could buy one as my nephew would not even notice the difference and would probably even prefer the store-bought cake, but I enjoy the kind of cooking where you can throw together a bunch of ingredients and see where they land, and very few things are as forgiving as an ice cream cake to give you that creative license…have you ever heard “Ewwww, too much Oreo.”  I think not.

This simple thing will make me happy.

And happy is where I choose to be.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. – Socrates