The other day I was asked why I advocate for the bereaved to give to others as a way to heal. In the midst of autopilot, brain fog, and feeling utterly depleted before even getting out of bed, most have nothing left to give.
So here’s my explanation on why giving is good for the giver.
When one suffers a broken leg, it takes time for the body to heal. The fracture will always be there because once done, it can’t be undone, but strengthening the muscles and tissue around the break will help protect from further damage and promote healing.
Just like physical therapy is to broken bones, giving while grieving is therapy for the broken heart. It releases powerful dopamine and endorphins—a natural high, which are like little happy pills for brain pain. It’s also good for our body by reducing common grief banes—stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Does giving cure grief? No. Losing someone we love causes grief that cannot be undone. It is something we learn to live with moving forward. But we can soothe the rawness and strengthen the areas around the wound—our broken heart—through activities and actions such as giving.
What can you give when you feel empty inside? Give blood. Give a smile. Give a genuine compliment. Give blessing bags to the homeless. Give a car room to merge during rush hour. Give time at a homeless shelter, which serves as a powerful reminder that we’re not alone on the struggle bus. Give a hug.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” In other words, helping others helps our own heart to heal. It truly does.
Today is the last of the 12 Nights of Kindness when we reveal our identity to the Naidu family. It wasn’t that long ago when we faced our first Christmas without our daughter Aly, and nothing soothed the rawness except acts of kindness from others. Fast forward 9 years later and I’ve learned that kindness remains a powerful balm—for my own heart.
Thank you for joining us each evening and watching our elves learn the joys of giving. I hope our 12 Nights inspired you to give kindness to someone because no matter how large or small, all it takes it one small act to make a big difference.
Tonight we’re joined by a seasoned elf, our youngest son Shaun, who just arrived home from college for the holidays. We started this tradition when he was 9. He’s now 23 and all grown up but young Elf Aubrey is doing a great job giving kindness to a family mourning the fresh loss of their loved one.
Night #2. Elf Aubrey is learning the joys of giving by giving joy to a family in mourning through the 12 Nights of Kindness. We went out a little early tonight due to a windstorm, but Aubrey is so brave and doing a wonderful job!
To start your own tradition of giving kindness, full instructions and free printables are available at www.LyndaFell.com.
Night #1 of the 12 Nights of Kindness, our tradition of teaching kids the joys of giving by giving joy to a neighbor who is missing someone they love.
This year we picked a family who lost a loved one just two months ago. Neighbor Bob died right in his driveway. I know our nightly gifts won’t cure the family’s sadness, but giving is good for both giver and receiver in that it lifts our own hearts to spread a little holiday cheer to someone in need. Learn how to start your own tradition including free instructions and printables at www.LyndaFell.com.
Hope for the Holidays Show, hosted by Lynda Cheldelin Fell and Todd Nigro, is a show for grievers to share tips and coping techniques for managing the holidays without our loved one. Learn more at www.LyndaFell.com.
Kindness. It’s a simple act that unites instead of divides, and Tuesday, Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day. Watch Lynda Cheldelin Fell’s story about teaching her children to be messengers of joy through the 12 Nights of Kindness, the family tradition she started 14 years ago and how, since losing her daughter 9 years ago, the tradition unexpectedly helps her own heart to heal.
Free instructions and printables available on www.LyndaFell.com.