Feeling suicidal or blue can be normal when you live with chronic illness. One way to fight them each day is by doing a random act of kindness.
By Lisa Copen, this is a reprint from http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com where Lisa is a contributor. The web site is a good place to turn during those rough days to help you remember that God cares about you and is here beside you even when you don’t feel like it.
Experiencing that rock-bottom depression and pain–both physical and emotional–can quickly convince you that there is nothing worth getting out of bed for one more morning. You may even be wondering if you should keep fighting those thoughts of suicide, or if it is finally time to just give in. Perhaps you are tired of fighting and don’t see any purpose in your life today.
In my ministry with the chronically ill, I hear from so many people share about the loneliness and isolation they experience. And they often point out how no one calls them anymore, their church has forgotten them, co-workers from previous jobs have moved on.
Even the smallest of ways that a person reaches out to someone, however, can increase the effectiveness of her own immune system and how she wraps her brain around things.
According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation many studies have found scientific health benefits to doing a random act of kindness, even for someone you have never met before.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts our mood, and an ingredient in most anti-depressants. And when you do something nice for someone, your serotonin gets a boost.
It may come as no surprise to you that when someone does something nice for you, it increases your serotonin. But did you know it also gets a boost when you are the one who does something nice for someone else? And get this! A random act of kindness also boosts the serotonin level of the people who are watching this kindness take place!
Everyone wants to matter, to be seen, to have someone offer a tiny bit of kindness. And when their so-called friends and loved ones are not there to offer any hope for the future, you–yes, you may actually be the person to offer it. Don’t doubt that God can do something amazing through you. Every person He has ever called upon had a long list of ways to improve.
So take a deep breath and give yourself this small little motivator today. Do something nice for someone. You will feel a little rush of joy, the recipient will get a boost too, and so will anyone else who happens to be observing. You may not only save your life; your actions may encourage someone else to not take her life.
Need some ideas? Here are some easy, inexpensive random acts of kindness you can do today.
- Hold the door open for a few people, not just the person beside you
- Stick a few quarters in a parking meter
- Carry a box for someone at the post office, or help someone put grocery bags into her car
- Print out a funny cartoon and mail it to a friend with a short note
- Write a corny love note or short poem for your spouse
- Leave sticky notes in public places with an inspirational quote
- Offer to return a shopping cart for someone parked in a disabled spot
- Keep granola bars and bottles of water in your car to give to the homeless
- Tell a tele-marker you know how tough their job is and if they can do this they can do anything
- Get helium-filled balloons at the dollar store and take them to people who need cheered up
You can find more ideas for random acts of kindness here at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation web site where they have hundreds listed.
If you need a motivator, this video shares music by Jill Scott with some things to remember when it comes to those acts of kindness.
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
10 Tips to Avoid Your Illness Support Group Becoming Depressing(restministries.com)