11 simple ways to help.

Daily Suvichar
Written by Daily Suvichar

Looking around our world sometimes we wonder how fortunate we are and genuinely feel sad for the ones who aren’t. We see the news, there’s another terrorist attack. We go out to drive and our gaze falls upon this poor old homeless man on the street. Our heart tugs at us like a little child trying to catch its mother’s attention. And then we remind ourselves that we have work do to, our job, kids to attend, a friend’s wedding, a parent to take to the doctor. In our very busy lives, it is indeed difficult to find time to help the needy to the extent that is required. True that one small act won’t change the whole world. But many small acts can make a big difference. We all know that.

Many small acts can make a big difference. We all know that.

So when that feeling of guilt comes about and we wonder how we can do our bit to help, here are some ways in which you can help.

1) Start with yourself

Give yourself some time off. I mean, don’t go off planning a holiday with five friends or your children, spouse, parents, parents-in-law and your pet in the tow. Give yourself some space in which there is no one else but you. Take this time to know yourself truly. Do something quiet and simple like writing a diary, sketching, cleaning your cupboard, listening to soft music or reading a book. Have warm tea or a cool smoothie if it’s summers. Treat yourself kindly. This will give you peace, time for reflection and to know yourself better. When you are calmer, happier and fulfilled, you are more likely to find ways to serve others.

2) Love thy neighbour

Do you know an elderly couple or person living by themselves in the neighbourhood? Go and spend some time with them. It could be a family with a handicapped person or a special child in it. Someone fighting cancer. A single parent juggling job and kids. A lady with a difficult spouse and in laws. Once you open your eyes and look around, there will always be someone who could benefit with your good company. Find a common ground to talk about, maybe retro music, movies, religion, books or just laugh about the current politics and make them a cuppa tea. If you’re young and strong, get your friends together and help with an odd job once in a while. Make friends with them first, so that your goodwill goes through and doesn’t hurt their dignity.

Loneliness and neglect are some of the worst afflictions facing people in every society. Give a little of yourself, a bit of your time and a few smiles…and see that grow many times.

3) Celebrate festivals with community

It’s that magical time of the year! It’s Christmas, Diwali or New Year’s eve. Instead of blowing away those couple of hundred dollars on food and booze with four of your regular friends (or the other ten whose name you won’t remember after the party), organise a community celebration. The community could be from your neighbourhood, school or people who you regularly see at the park or gym. Split the expenses between everyone and organise group activities that everyone will enjoy. That way you can help all of them know each other, which may have never happened without your initiative.

4) Give away gifts on your birthday

A birthday is a very special time for all of us when we are showered with gifts and blessings. On your next birthday give away some gifts instead and get more blessings. Find an orphanage or a group working for a good cause and donate food, clothes, books etc. Know of a recent flood or storm ravaged area in the world? They usually need about ten times more help in rebuilding than we can ever imagine. Pitch in any way you can.

5) Quit a bad habit

Some commonly known bad habits are smoking, drinking heavily, not maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, unhealthy eating, lazy lifestyle, too much TV and anger. It might be worthwhile to put our arrogance aside for a day, ponder over why the rest of the world thinks these are not so good. What if we’re harming the world in a bigger way than we could have ever imagined by these seemingly insignificant habits? What if? Give it a thought. Go on the net and find out more about it. By quitting one of these habits you’ll gift the world a person who cares about it a little more. And you may end up finding a person who cares a bit more about himself.

“Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

6) Be kind

If you find someone being rude to you, be kind in turn. Is someone deliberately being mean to you? Maybe a colleague, a mother in law, your landlord or ex? Sometimes it’s possible that if you take a first step and break the ice, show them kindness and amiability, their antagonism will just melt away. Sometimes it might need repetition.

7) Random acts of kindness

There are countless ways! Offer a meal to a homeless person. Help your mom in cooking or cleaning. Help your younger sibling with homework. Offer to babysit your friends’ toddler for an hour or two. Talk to a dying patient. Read a book to someone who cannot read. Teach someone a skill you know. Tell a joke to an upset person. Show a cartoon to a kid waiting in queue at a doctors clinic. Give an extra tip to a waiter (this one’s famous). Bring coffee for a colleague who’s drowned in work. When you do these, send me your story and a picture with your beatific smile.

8) Offer your skills

Everyone learns multiple skills in their lives. Cooking, typing, computer skills, playing a musical instrument, scrap-booking, painting, writing, public speaking, teaching, a foreign language or even just cleaning up and organizing. You can lend these skills to an institution or group doing some kind of good/philanthropic work you appreciate, maybe even once a month.

9) Quit a cosmetic or perfume

We’re all too obsessed with looking good. When it’s all too obvious that when we’re feeling good is the time when we look our best. Of course, for that we also have to continue feeling good all the time. Here’s one way, try giving up on make-up.

A few facts – most cosmetics and perfumes contain toxic, even carcinogenic chemicals that are absorbed through your skin and eaten by you. Absorption through skin means these directly go into your bloodstream, eating them is safer. A large percentage of big brands still perform animal testing, actually there are few who don’t and it’s hard to find out who those are. The animals used are bunnies, mice, primates, dogs and cats. The common tests are skin and eye irritation tests, force feeding (yes, cosmetics!), lethal dose tests to find the dosage that kills them. So, our beauty comes at a huge cost. I think we can all judge for ourselves how beautiful a person that really makes us.

Consider this, “The Red Cross and Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study in 2004 that detected more than 287 synthetic chemicals in the cord blood of newborns.”

10) Give a compliment

Why “a” compliment? Give plenty of compliments to everyone you meet. There is some good in everyone we meet and this will make us see the good in them that we probably never noticed before. Notice yourself be delighted and become a much happier and appreciative person too.

11) Follow the law

Does jumping traffic lights or speeding give you thrill? Or it might seem that trying to evade taxes is a good business tactic. Consider the number of times we have cursed the government for being corrupt or inefficient. The government, unfortunately, is formed from people emerging from our own communities. Make a trend of being honest and that is what we’ll see rising up the ladder. We’re also helping by not killing or maiming someone inadvertently. And maybe that 200 foot stretch of newly built road in front of your house was repaired using your tax money.

Most of all, share. Share you happiness, smiles and fortune in any form that it has blessed you with, as many as you can. And see it grow and come back manifolds back to you, only to give back more. And more.

“Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

By: Ruchi Phool


About Ruchi

After working for more than a decade in IT across continents, Ruchi decided to follow her heart and took the path of healing and Self discovery in 2010. Always interested in ‘reality’, she discovered yoga and allied healing methods were her calling. Her aim is to use these traditional sciences in alliance with modern techniques and medical research to help bring relief from modern-day health & lifestyle disorders and to empower all to remain happy and healthy. Ruchi has a Diploma in Yoga Vidya, Diploma in Naturopathy and Yoga and Laughter Yoga Teacher Certification. Her skills include Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Laughter Yoga, Diet & Nutrition, Shuddhi Prakriyas (Cleaning of Mind, Body, Psyche), Pranayama and various Mindfulness, Meditation & Relaxation techniques.

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