Can Paying It Forward Pay Us Dividends?

Paying it forward

Most people know that before surgery, you’re not supposed to eat or drink anything. Am I right?

So you can imagine my concern last week when my patient, Beth, started telling me about her trip to Starbucks on her way to the surgery center.

It turns out, Beth and her husband go to Starbucks every morning. On this particular day, she knew better than to have coffee. (Hurray!) Instead, Beth bought coffee for the person behind her in line while her husband had his usual cup of joe.

How did I find out about it?

When I walked over to Beth in the pre-op area before going back for surgery, I just asked how her day was going. She replied, “Great!” and then proceeded to tell me about the coffee she’d gifted a stranger.

What was interesting is, she said it made her feel better. She had actually, as science proves, increased her serotonin levels, just by performing this simple act of kindness.

Now Beth didn’t know about her serotonin levels. She just felt like she already had a leg up on what could have been a challenging day.

Just by hearing Beth’s story, my serotonin levels increased! Seriously. That’s a scientific fact, too.

It got me thinking about the little things we can all do every day to help pay it forward.

  • Waiting a moment to hold the door open for someone a few extra steps behind you.
  • Bringing the newspaper up to the porch for your elderly neighbor on a rainy morning.
  • Smiling at a young mom and her baby on the elevator, even though the baby is fussy, because you know that mom has her hands full.

Twitter-Icon_LoveMedicineAgain.comTweet: The trick is paying it forward, just because.

Without thought of the consequence.

Without a need for payback.

Somehow, the more unexpected and less calculated the action, the more rewarding.

We all set goals for ourselves:

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Go to the gym 3 days a week.
  • Floss daily.

What if it was a goal to perform one random act of kindness, to pay it forward, every day?

Just one.

Let’s start today. I’m betting that, like having money in the bank, the rewards will slowly multiply.

Whether we see it or not.

Are you in?




CATEGORIES: Blog, Connection on September 15, 2015 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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