I am on a Social Media break. Not only is the mindless scrolling in the various newsfeed eating my time, but it also makes me unhappy. Why? It exposes me to negative news about topics such as climate change or or other injustices.
After reading such news, you are always caught up in your thoughts about how you could change it. I came to the conclusion: You can’t. At least not right now. The only thing that you can influence is yourself and your response to what is happening to you at the moment.
For example, if you want to combat the effects of climate change and or want clean oceans without plastic. Can you suck all the CO2 out of the atmosphere and likewise the plastic from the oceans? Of course not.
But what you can do is: You can be more aware about your actions and how they affect the enviroment. You can cut down on eating meat, for example, because of the huge environmental effect of the livestock industry. You could cut the amount of flights and if you have to, you can still offset your carbon footprint. You could start cutting down on the plastic you use or you can start you own waste-free store.
Focused actions based on what one can control is the only way to make the world a better place.
While the examples above focus on two specific goals (environment and plastic polution), there are three small actions that you can do every day and don’t cost anything. Their effect might be bigger than decreasing you CO2 footprint by donating money.
This concept has since changed my life for the better. But it has the potential to change the whole world for the better. How?
The concept of mindfulness is based in the idea to be present in the moment. Sounds easy? Well, it isn’t, because we are humans and we have a lot on our minds everyday. We are so often caught up in our thoughts taking a journey.
Like on the bus: “Have I turned off the oven? Yes. I should eat less pizza and become more healthy. This cooking class Matt told me about — I should sign up. Oops, this was my bustop… just missed it.”
Not that mindful, right?
Mindfulness is the base to influence the world for the better. Because being present in the moment, you can actually see what is wrong in your environment.
When you concentrate on the moment you can see that old lady struggling with her suitcase and you jump to help.
You see how someone might be stuggling and you gift them a smile that lightens up their day.
Even when you have had the worst day, you can always find something about your day that you are thankful for. (especially if you try to be mindful 😉 ). If you write one thing down every day, it can have a remarkable effect on how you feel. By feeling better, you then have the capability to radiate this to other people. It makes sense — if you feel better, you can make other people feel better two.
You can also start telling people the things they do that you are thankful for. This changes everything. You improve the relationship with that person and you will feel better yourself as well.
On a car ride with my parents the other day, I told them that I am thankful for everything they have done. That because of them I can have a stable and secure life. They are the reason why I can do things like moving to Lisbon later this year. I can do that because I will always have a safe habor in my hometown. Oh boy, the glow in my moms face already made up the effort it cost me to say that.
As discussed above, there are a lot of things going wrong in the world, that you can not influence. Yet, what you can influence is the wrongdoing that is happening right in front of your very eyes. Whether it’s a racist comment from a guy on the bus or someone treating an elderly person with disrespect. If you see something like that, speak up!
Am I doing this all the time? No, because I am afraid as well, like everyone. However, everytime I do speak up, I felt better . Liberated, knowing I did the right thing and made the world a little bit better.
Makeing the world a better place is an honourable endeavour. While many think that you have to build the next big NGO to have an impact, the opposite is true. You can start small with three simple practices. They cost you nothing but can have a huge impact on the world around and inside you. Mindfulness, Gratitude and Courage — you control it all.