How To Feel Good

It’s that time when thoughts and conversations turn to reflections on the year coming to a close. For many of us this is a moment on the calendar, in the month of December, when we’re on the downward slope. Festivities and holidays beckon as the light at the end of a tunnel. Life ramps up as we race to get things done. Like runners in a marathon, just when we feel the legs can’t make it, the end is in sight and we dig in and find the energy to get to the finish line.

How will you remember 2017? For me, I’d say it’s been long, intense, and at times a slog. Interestingly all the good things, and there have been many, seem buried under a weight of collective angst. (Well, not all of it collective, some of it is mine alone!) Almost everyone I’m conversing or corresponding with, personally and professionally, is telling me a similar story. They’ll be glad to see the back of this one.

More than the usual end-of-year weariness, it feels like many are sapped of lightness—our natural generosity of spirit­ replaced by a jaded viewpoint and a lowering of optimism. This can become a vicious cycle, for when we’re tired, stretched and “over it” the first things to go can be our warmth and simple acts of kindness to our fellow human. And without these often seemingly insignificant acts we miss out on opportunities to feel good, which then further fuels negativity…

Let’s remember how to feel good. And let’s remember how to feel good about other people again. We feel good by attending to ourselves and by serving others. This is an indivisible combination—we can’t have one without the other and each uplifts the other. In fact, science tells us that the feel-good state that’s experienced when we give or receive a kindness extends beyond the initiator and the recipient and is also felt by any observer of the act.

Where to begin? Let’s make it easy for ourselves; this is not complicated. I include this list because it transcends demographics and requires no special conditions, only everyday choices. These are choices we can all make with raised awareness and a softer disposition.

And it’s enough. Such simple, quiet gestures help us feel good in ourselves, feel good about other people, and invite other people to feel good about us!

1. Hold a door open.

2. Smile.

3. Offer a kind word and encouragement.

4. Give a compliment.

5. Listen without interruption.

6. Make a call when your intuition tells you to.

7. Offer a prayer for a homeless person.

8. Pray—period.

9. Forgive others and yourself.

10. Prepare a meal for a friend.

11. Refrain from judging another, or yourself, harshly.

12. Remember that life is full of miracles and have faith that every difficult situation can change in the blink of an eye.

With thanks to Caroline Myss for this list that appears in her inspiring book “Invisible Acts of Power”.

The calendar is an artificial marker and we know nothing changes simply because 2017 becomes 2018. Yet we don’t need to wait for the New Year. We can begin now by remembering that which we inherently know—we are all connected, every one of us, each to the other. Reconnecting with our sense of humanity transcends time and place, uplifts our spirit, and returns us to our natural state of love and feeling good.


Melanie Kirkbride is co-founder of The Soft Road.  She frequently writes and teaches on topics of personal and cultural transformation to help people unlock their potential and thrive.  To contact Melanie and to receive her Notes and Soft Road Essays, click here.