Self-help isn’t self-ish, as long as we use our improved sense of well-being to give back to the world. There are a number of ways we can project our radiant kindness and love back onto the world that so desperately needs it. Taking care of yourself allows you to make an impact on the humans and environment around you. These are 16 ways you can start changing the world right now.
1. Smile At People on the Street.
We are here for connection. When passing another person, whether it’s on a quiet rural street or a busy sprawling intersection, a smile is a simple gesture that allows for a moment of human connection. Some of my days have been made better by an unexpected smile.
The impact this gesture had on my heart allowed a new intention setting to materialize. I would smile genuinely at as many people I could everyday. I wouldn’t let an uncomfortable disregard discourage me. The smiles back are always worth it.
2. Use Your Consumer Power with Intention.
Working in marketing and advertising full-time, I recognize the power of the consumer. Conscious consumption is taking on mindless spending. People are starting to care more about what they’re spending their money on and what they’re putting in their body.
The demand for a product or service is what drives the supply. People can demand better quality clothing that come from fair paid workers in local factories. People can demand transparency from companies when they seek more information. People can care more about the value system of businesses and align these with their own. The market will reflect what people will pay for.
People often express that the conglomerates are above needing or caring about their individual support, but there is strength in numbers. Look into the companies you support and be mindful about the services and products you buy.
3. Click Carefully.
When I wake up in the morning I often swipe to the news and am hit by 5 – 6 horrific stories. The news is an important medium for information and awareness is necessary for change-making. However, certain stories and headlines are created simply for generating clicks.
If we feed the demand for horrific news, or poor quality articles with catchy headlines, we will continue to be served with it. I’ve made a more active effort to be mindful of what I decide to “read more” of. If the information is not contributing knowledge you need or helping yourself or another person, don’t indulge in the details.
4. Reduce Your Waste.
A video began circulating of a young woman who took steps to reduce her waste and the results were astounding. She not only showed us how much waste we often go through unnecessarily, she also showed us how easy it is to make a few adjustments, live a normal life, and massively cut down. Watch the video below to see how she went about reducing her waste to one tiny jar a year.
5. Change Your Eating Habits.
Take on a plant-based diet. The more you think about it, the more plant-based just makes sense. We don’t have the teeth or digestive system to suggest that big hunks of meat are healthy or necessary. Drinking another animal’s milk seems counterintuitive altogether. Drinking rat’s milk, dog’s milk, or cat’s milk sounds repulsive to us but we’re comfortable continuing on with cow’s milk because of our ingrained beliefs.
Plant-based eating is morally aligned with loving-kindness to all creatures, it’s better for the environment, it’s better for our health, and it’s natural to our body. Trying a plant-based diet, cutting out processed food, and simply cutting down on foods that damage the environment will make a huge impact on the world every day.
6. Speak With Intention (Without Gossip or Complaining).
Your energy isn’t the only thing you project outward to the people around you. Language is a gift of connection. I found that my habit swayed more toward incessant talking than shying from conversation. My speech became a by-the-minute reel of my egoic brain. I was thinking out loud.
Letting thoughts pass without verbalizing them can be wise in many cases. Instead of uttering a complaint with a coworker because there’s an awkward silence, bask in the empty space. Instead of groaning out loud about something that’s bothering you, don’t give it that space or attention.
Speak with positive intention. Contribute to conversations, but do so mindfully. Cutting down on meaningless chatter will give your words greater weight and impact.
7. Get Passionate About a Good Cause.
Passion is not something we seek, passion is something we bring to the table. We are used to bringing a lot of passion to those short-term pleasures. We get passionate about getting home to finish our Netflix binge, or passionate about Friday, we get passionate when that chocolate cake arrives, or when someone returns our affections.
We can also allow passion to flow from the inside out. We can find something that matters and become passionate about it. We can actively research good causes or organizations and reach out. Getting involved in something greater than ourselves drives our passion and simultaneously makes a difference in a greater community.
8. Don’t Feed Drama.
Getting caught up in drama is a waste of time, energy, and purpose. That’s the only attention I will give it (it doesn’t even get a picture).
9. Use Anger as Energy.
Anger doesn’t always feel good but it certainly feels powerful. The energy of anger can be harnessed for the better. Like an alchemist, you can use the force behind anger as motivation.
When you use anger for bad it’s considered “drinking the poison”, or as the Buddha said “holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned.” Next time you feel overwhelmed with anger, funnel the energy into a high-intensity workout. The rush will give you a boost and allow the rage to pass through you instead of well up inside for later.
10. Live Your Philosophies Instead of Preaching Them.
Live your values and teach through example. Starting my spiritual journey had me very excited. I wanted to tell everyone about my experiences and how their lives could be better if they read this book, watched that documentary, or subscribed to this and that belief.
It wasn’t long before someone in my life who has no trouble being honest with me (my sister) told me that I was preaching and becoming annoying to her and probably the people around me. Hurt at first, I realized I was preaching my values and even prioritizing this over practice.
Living my values brought people to me in a new way. Instead of seeking people to tell, they would come to me and ask how I made these changes in my life. Always lead by example.
11. Be Generous.
Generous people are radiant, giving, and loving. Can you think of a friend or a family member who seems to give effortlessly? Giving flows from them, even if they don’t necessarily have a lot. They may give their time, hospitality, their money to others, or their attention in conversation.
Being stingy doesn’t feel good. When we cling to what we have it’s generally because we’re living with a scarcity mindset that believes we don’t have enough or we may lose what we have. The moment we change our mindset to be abundant, we become more giving and instantly contribute more to the world.
12. Challenge the Status Quo.
Always question the traditional way of thinking. You may agree with the conditioning of your society or the way you were conditionally raised but it’s important to question it from all angles. This allows you to choose your path freely.
Being different is a beautiful gift and deeply misunderstood. In the end through the flesh of our body, we are souls living a human experience. We are all the same at our core but we can choose to live our human lives differently. This is a beautiful gift.
13. Write to Your Local Government.
Policy and change depend on all of us. Voting is a privilege that should be exercised. There is even more you can do beyond voting to get involved. Pay attention to changes being made in your local government or the political landscape as a whole and reach out. This is another privilege that is not available to people in all countries or states. If you live in a democracy, use your right to participate and be heard by reaching out.
14. Grow Some of Your Own Food.
Society has learned how to market every industry. You can get food delivered to your door sliced, diced, and prepped, you can drive “thru” a window and get a meal in seconds, or you can go to the market and pick out your produce. The options are seemingly endless. One option people seem to have forgotten is the option to grow some of your own food.
I say some, because realistically farming is hard and seasons play a large role (especially coming from a Canadian). You can allocate part of your land space to create a garden that not only looks pretty, but produces food.
Tomatoes, carrots, herbs, or berries. Talk to the people at the local nursery and ask about how to take care of your mini market. If more people grew their own food and made efficient use of their land space, we could put a dent in not only our grocery list but our mission for sustainability.
15. Do Stuff for Yourself.
The internet has given us access to a huge hub of information. We can use videos, articles, and instructional wiki lists to pretty much get anything done. If you want to acquire an additional skill set, get excited about the fact that the info is probably available to you right now for free.
Teach yourself guitar, speak Italian, change your own light bulb, put up a shelf, make a new recipe, do a head stand, take a course, the list goes on and on and on. Doing stuff for yourself is empowering and gives you skills you can use to contribute more every day.
16. Be Kind.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama. The word and concept of kindness has been ingrained in us since childhood. Being kind to one another was a basic skill but somehow the real importance of kindness seemed to become diluted.
Kindness is one of our greatest gifts and choices. In any given situation, we can choose to be kind. We can choose kindness to our neighbours, to our selves, to our environment. Kindness is a form of love that we express in action. If everyone chose to be more kind, our world would change in an instant.
Start Changing the World
You’re here for a reason because you are here. Everything you do matters. Make decisions with purpose, act with positive intention, and create change that will help transform the world we live in right now.
Lots of love.