Lent begins on Ash Wednesday 1st of March.
A period of time in the Christian calendar that represents giving something up and going without, traditionally fasting or abstaining from something that generally gives an individual pleasure.
Non or indeed lapsed Christians will often jump in on the act from a “selfish” point of view in the hope that abstaining from a certain food group chocolate (guilty a charged) carbs and cigarettes or the like will give a kick start and a feeling of well being. Those 40 days can make a difference to the waistlines and the lungs of many.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia,
“The real aim of Lent is, above all else, to prepare men for the celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ…the better the preparation the more effective the celebration will be. One can effectively relive the mystery only with purified mind and heart.”
Is Giving Up for Lent the Answer?
Rather than giving something up what if those of us who do not partake in the traditional beliefs of Lent were to give rather than to go without. If those who partake in lent for the glory of the journey rather than the religious connotation were to give during the 40 days their mind and heart would benefit in ways far more beneficial than those who lose a few pound or inches only to put them back on again once the Easter bunny has delivered her eggs.
40 Day Of Kindness
During the forthcoming 40 days of lent why not give? – Be kind practice an act of kindness every day. It doesn’t have to be random it can even be premeditated. It can be spontaneous. It could be life-changing for both you and the recipients.
There are many ways to carry out an act of kindness from leaving a positive review for a new business to buying someone a coffee in the local cafe. Making time for an elderly relative or offering to babysit a stressed out mum. It can be a huge gesture or a small token of thanks.
The list is endless. By taking the conscious actions of “being kind” you will open up your peripheral vision and see new opportunities to do good as your feel good factor increases.
2008 Allan Luks conducted a survey of more than 3000 people sending out 17 questions regarding acts of kindness and the physical and emotional impact on the giver of the kindness. The results were published in issue 19 of Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine. Amongst his findings were.
Helping others contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical. A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high.” It involves physical sensations and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of calm and improved emotional well-being.
Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
Will you consider giving rather than giving up for lent?
I am off to help an old lady across the road but before I do that where can I hide the biscuit tin?