November 24, 2019

“The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” – Walt Whitman

This is one of my favorite blogs I get to write during the year!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my last post (Show Your Gratitude – Blog 355), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

A new client recently sent me an article from DailyHealthPost.com titled “Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier.”  Psychologists from the University of California Davis and the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude.  Among the randomly-selected study subjects, one third kept a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.  Another third recorded daily irritations or events that had displeased them.  The last third of the study group wrote down daily situations and events that occurred, with no special emphasis on either positive or negative emotional reactions as to what had happened.

The randomly-assigned group that wrote daily about things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other two groups.  In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The article concluded, “Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

I would add that not only does paying it forward to others demonstrate your sincere thankfulness for the blessing in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holiday Season by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one to a barista at the counter every time I visited the store, asking her to bestow it on any customer at random after I left.  (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity can be the MOST fun of all!) This always puts a surprised smile on the barista’s face, too!

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

  • One reader regularly slips a note with a $10 bill in it into a package of diapers at Walmart for a surprised new mom to find when she opens it. The note says, “I know being a new mom can be tough.  You are doing a great job!”
  • My reader was standing in line at a restaurant cash register when she overhead that the guest in front of her was $5 short to pay her bill. While the woman frantically ran out to her car to search for more money, my client anonymously paid the balance for her.
  • Another reader at a restaurant noticed a less-than-prosperous-looking elderly couple sitting nearby and anonymously paid their tab before he left.
  • Many said they purposely over-tip hardworking servers and leave a note with the bill that says, “Thank you for your service!” (I recently heard of a new tipping practice that is apparently catching on in which those who can afford it leave a tip for the server equal to the amount of the bill. I hope one day soon to be able to do that myself!)
  • For several winters in a row, one of my readers has put together comfort bundles that include a couple of pairs of new warm sox, protein bars, Cutie tangerines and bottled water. She carries them in her car and hands them out to any homeless folks she sees. Once, when she went to the “skid row” section of her city to hand them out, a number of people ran up to her excitedly, having heard about her comfort bundles.
  • Similarly, a reader’s church has an annual drive to collect travel-size personal hygiene items like shampoo, shaving cream, soap, toothpaste, etc. to bundle together and distribute to the homeless throughout the year.
  • Several selfless readers say they plan to volunteer serving meals to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • One reader decided to play even BIGGER and get her whole network marketing Team involved in the PIF Challenge. She had them read my blog, and then told them that anyone who posts on the Team’s Facebook page about an act of kindness or generosity they did will get one chance in her raffle for a fun gift. The more acts of kindness they post about, the more chances they earn in the drawing.
  • One of my clients who teaches 6th grade gave her class the assignment to think about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and write a page about all the things they can feel grateful for IN ADVANCE about it, such as spending fun times with friends and family they don’t often see. She asked them to really think deeply, visualize what they want and be specific. They already knew how to journal about things they are grateful for in their lives right NOW, but this assignment taught to be forward thinking by feeling grateful IN ADVANCE for what they WANT to have happen – which is a tried and true technique for triggering the Law of Attraction to MAKE it happen!
  • Rick and I helped “Gracie,” a sweet big dog who needed a ride from the vet to a temporary boarding facility, while our favorite local grassroots non-profit, The Little Red Dog, went about finding her a good new Forever Home for the Holidays. The round trip took two hours on busy freeways, but it was totally worth it.

I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a 365-day happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories so we can all enjoy another round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes this Holiday Season!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the holiday weekend off. Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday December 8.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.