7 Ways to Make a Positive Impact on the World
I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who have described their mental attitudes as anything from distracted to “blah” to downright depressed. A lot of things are going on in the world around us and many of them are not good right now. Besides Covid-19, there are major political tensions dividing the nation, racial unrest, and high amounts of uncertainty about our futures regarding education, staying healthy, and employment.
Most of us can say that we have it better than the majority of the world’s population. If we can see, hear, walk, talk, and are living in a safe home with running water and electricity, we’re better than most.
Studies have shown that people who give back to the community (or the world) are actually happier than people who don’t. Today feels like as good a day as any to start thinking about how we can make a difference in the world around us!
Here are 7 Ways to Make a Difference (with little to no money)
1. Speak Life: When you enjoy a video, social media post, or online article, leave a positive comment. Rather than just “take” (gaining information or entertainment) how about “giving”? Try telling the content creator how great the video or post was, and what it meant to you. You’ll find that you feel better for having put positive vibes out into the universe, and it costs you nothing!
2. Do Random Acts of Kindness: Again, this won’t cost you unless you choose to spend a little money on something. Random acts of kindness are limitless. You can bake cookies for the fire department, paint kind words on stones and leave them lying around where they’ll be found, write a note of encouragement to someone deserving, or offer to return someone’s cart to the store after they’ve shopped. If you have a little extra cash, you can tape quarters to parking meters or laundromat washers and dryers. You can send someone flowers and tell them they’re appreciated. Have you ever paid for the person behind you at a fast-food drive-thru or on the turnpike? It’s a very satisfying act, trust me!
3. Raise Money for a Good Cause: Whether you collect canned goods from relatives to donate to a food bank, sell your services (car washing, dog walking, babysitting), or ask friends and family to donate money to your cause rather than bring a material gift to your birthday, raising money for charity is a selfless act that brings both joy and peace to your life.
4. Spread Awareness: If you have a social media account, try posting to raise awareness on important issues. For example, if a social issue is important to you, let your friends know by posting about it. If someone you know needs encouragement, post something asking your followers to leave him or her a word of inspiration on their account. In other words, try posting more than selfies and pictures of how great your own life is, and instead, try using your account to be a light to others.
5. Clean Out Your Closet: Donate unused items, unworn clothes, and old electronics. Someone will be thrilled to come upon them at a Goodwill or charity sale. Bonus points if you donate unwanted books and tuck a positive note between the pages!
6. Smile: I know this seems small, but you’d be surprised how far a genuine smile can go. Make eye contact, smile, say hello when you encounter people on the street or in a store. OK, I know we’re wearing masks these days, but we won’t be forever. And even so, we can still say hello and how are you to those we meet, instead of just walking by like no one else matters.
7. Donate to a Good Cause: If you don’t have much time, but you’ve got a little extra money, try donating to the charity of your choice. It’s never been so easy to do this, as most nonprofits have websites with options to donate online. You can also contribute to a worthy GoFundMe account or your local food pantry.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of acts of kindness, words of encouragement, and a helping hand. Isn’t it time we take some action and give back in any small way we can?