As warm as chicken soup.
I believe in karma. I truly think that the more good deeds we do for others and the more good things we do for the world, the more good things we’ll receive and the better we’ll feel in return.
I remember a time when I was for some reason feeling irritable, ready to erupt at any moment. A cab driver ran a light and almost hit me, and I became enraged.
I cursed aloud (to nobody and at nobody because the driver was blocks away already), threw my hands in the air and gave the middle finger to the taxi in the distance. After a few minutes though, I regretted my actions, and I thought about why I reacted in such an immature way.
That’s when I realized I hadn’t done anything recently to nurture my soul. I hadn’t helped anyone. Something as simple as opening the door for another person had escaped my daily routine.
Once I made a more conscious effort to enrich my soul, I felt less agitated and more at peace. The following are six suggestions you can do daily for your soul, so you don’t end up like me, cursing out cab drivers and waving your arms in the air like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
What’s a Micro Activity?
I consider this question about the word “micro” whenever it appears in a piece. Is it a great word? Yes. Is it a personal development buzzword like “atomic” or “mini” or “transform?” Absolutely. But what does it really mean?
Quite literally, it means “extremely small.” But for the purpose of this article, a micro activity will refer to something which takes up no more than 5 minutes of your time. These short and sweet, “extremely small” activities will soothe your soul, and are sure to have positive effects in the long run.
1. Reach out to someone who’s not expecting it
This activity, and many of the soul-nourishing recommendations, benefits two different souls. By reaching out to someone who’s not expecting it, you’re giving hope to their day. You’re showing them you’re thinking of them, you care about them, and you appreciate them.
Think about it from your end. How nice is it to receive a message from someone you haven’t heard from in a while?
I know it’s always a highlight of my day to know somebody out there in this great big world is thinking about me. Think about someone else, tell them, and feed your souls in the process.
2. Recognize something much greater than yourself
Whether you’re in nature or staring at the sun, take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of the world around you. Realize how large it is, how complex it is, and how small a role you actually play in it.
There’s a form of therapy known as cosmic insignificance therapy. It helps people gain a sense of perspective. It brings awe to people’s lives. It’s liberating. Cosmic insignificance therapy makes you pause and think about how incredibly fascinating the world is around us.
3. Embrace somebody
Whether it’s a hug or a cuddle, humans need physical connection. There’s nothing quite like a warm embrace, and there’s science to prove this as well.
Oxytocin is a hormone in our bodies known as the “cuddle hormone.” Its levels rise when we make contact with another person.
Scientists say that oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and the stress hormone norepinephrine. By embracing someone, we’re nourishing our souls and benefitting our bodies.
4. Everyday mindfulness
Finding time to meditate can be difficult. Setting a timer and sitting still can be quite challenging for people. This is why I like to recommend everyday mindfulness for the soul.
Everyday mindfulness is something I’ve discussed with PhD recipient,
Brian Pennie. It’s something you can do during the activities you already do every day of your life. When you wash your hands, be present with the water. Look at the bubbles as they form on your hands.
Feel the warmth of the water. Or, when you brush your teeth, really think about each tooth. When you eat, consider where your food came from and appreciate that journey.
5. Practice your breathing
A monk once told me that when children of monks first begin school, the first thing they learn is how to breathe. They master the most basic necessity of human survival.
Breathing techniques can ease stress and anxiety. They are incomparably calming. I do various forms of breathing each day, but my main style is a simple 6 second count, three in through the nose, and three out the mouth. This brings my soul comfort in times I’m feeling uneasy.
6. Add value to others without expecting anything in return
This is my life’s mantra. I have a poster of it hanging in my closet where I get my clothes, so I can look at it every single day.
I must admit however, that I deviate from this mantra from time to time. Like I mentioned in my introductory story, when this happens, I feel off. I feel restless. Agitated.
But when I live according to this idea and this practice, my soul thanks me. I feel my healthiest. I feel my cleanest. I feel my strongest. I feel my most fulfilled, all when I’m living in service of others.
And maybe it’s misleading, because although I don’t expect anything from anyone else in return, I do expect that my service to others will give something greater than I can ever ask for: a pride in myself that is unmatched.
Extremely Small Activities with Extremely Large Benefits
These activities should become rituals you practice each and every day. Your soul will thank you for the love, warmth, and peace you are providing it. Remember to:
Recognize something greater than yourself;
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