Challenge 2 — Spend Kindly

Kindness can feel like a transfer: one person decides to spend—money, energy, emotional labor—to help someone else.  Seen this way, helping becomes like a luxury.  When we’re strapped for cash or time, we have no surplus to give away; when we feel stressed or drained, stopping to empathize with someone else seems emotionally unaffordable.

Research suggests this is entirely backwards.  People feel happier and less stressed and after acting generously, as opposed to selfishly.  Giving away time even makes people feel they have more of it!

Today, make a choice to spend on someone else.  This can be money (buy someone lunch or a coffee) but doesn’t have to be.  You can spend time listening to a friend even though you’re busy.  You can notice that an acquaintance seems upset and—instead of going about your day—stop to ask them why.

Reflect on your experience.  How did you feel after—depleted, refreshed, neither, both?  How can you use this knowledge in the future?