Good Deeds: Making the Invisible Visible
Wouldn’t it be nice to see more good in the world?
Nowadays, in this hyper-connected age, our attention is grabbed – often intentionally – by sensational headlines and fearful statements for the future. We find ourselves worrying about events that may not have a direct impact on our personal lives. This can create an ever-present anxiety and alertness.
There’s a reason why bad news is so effective in hijacking our attention. The human brain evolved to pay more attention to things that trigger fear than things that affirm that everything is okay. It was more important for our survival to react to potential dangers than it was to react to positive events.
Our reality is made up of the perceptions we have of our environment and the people around us. When our reality is based on an undercurrent of anxiety, it has consequences. Fear and anxiety can switch off our critical thinking skills, change the way our body functions and can negatively affect our social cohesion and relationships. Ultimately, a prolonged period of anxiety can cause us to become more distrustful of others, increase depression and can cause physical illness.
What can we do to counter-balance our inclination for bad news and the ever-present stream of it? Many have started avoiding the news and quitting social media for exactly this reason. We may not be able to completely avoid our evolutionary tendencies or the popular sensationalism of the media, but we can control our attention and awareness.
We can take this one step further. What if we use our freed-up attention to consciously focus on the good things that happen around us? How would that affect us personally and on a larger scale?
Acts of kindness happen all around us. Every day. These special moments weave through our everyday lives and connect us to our “tribe”; our friends, family and even strangers. Many of us are not aware of all these interactions happening around us. And yet, a small act of kindness can cause a chain reaction felt by many. We all remember a time when a complete stranger held the door open for us, or gave us the extra bit of change we needed to buy something, or when we observed someone helping another.
Some good examples of this include the blog GoodThingsGuy which shares “only good things”, as well as gratitude journals. Writing down the things you are grateful for encourages you to focus on the blessings in your life, and puts you in an uplifted mood, no matter your circumstances. The same principle applies to health and mindfulness tracking apps. By highlighting the small actions that lead to improved fitness or mindfulness, your attention is focused on the consistent tasks to eat well, move regularly and become still.
It’s no different with good deeds. By collecting good deeds, our brain is primed to notice these special moments more. The simple act of observing good deeds makes us feel empathy and urges us to pay it forward when the next opportunity arises. Good begets more good. And just like exercising, eating well or meditating, focusing on good deeds is good for you and improves your overall physical, mental and social wellbeing. And like anything that is good for us, it should be practised on a consistent basis to maximise the positive effect it has on our and others’ lives.
Here at Brownie Points, we believe that good deeds are magical moments that engage our collaborative nature as social beings, build trust and give us more meaning. And this is why we are launching Good Deeds, a way to collect and share everyday stories of how we care for one another.
Ready to start spreading the love and inject a daily dose of meaning? Let’s go!
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