I wrote last week about the benefits of having a low elation threshold – the little things that can give our lives a lift. Now it’s time to explore how to contribute to the amount of low threshold elation in the world – again, through some little things. I’ve only a few suggestions.
· Give your neighbor a ride to the airport. Did that. Felt good.
· Pick up that piece of garbage you see when on a walk – in the woods or in town.
· When you finally get through to so-called Customer Support, have a kind word for the person you are speaking with. Attempt to connect on a human level. My son has a job manning the phones at a hospital, and he has done similar things elsewhere. It’s not an easy job when most of the callers are pissed off about something. I’ve learned from Kim how to do this. Become a human being, not just an angry impatient voice. It’s not their fault you had to wait on hold so long, with annoying music. I learned from Kim’s example, and I could tell it was appreciated on the other end.
· I was at our local market. They guy ahead of me learned that his credit card had lapsed, and he had $30 worth of groceries. I was about to offer to pay for his order, when the cashier told him not to worry, and she reached in her purse, took out her card, and paid. He said he’d pay her back tomorrow – he comes in several times a week. I told them both that I was about to pay, but I doubt they believe me. In any case, I scored some “good guy” credit – at no cost.
· I occasionally stop for pedestrians when I see them at crosswalks. They usually look grateful (though elated is too strong a word) and wave thanks to me. I feel good about creating this almost-elation. I also feel good about not getting a ticket or running someone over.
· Call people up on the phone from time to time. Kim does this now. I don’t – yet. I’m not sure that recipients of my calls are more surprised than elated – hard to tell the difference sometimes.
One benefit I’ve noticed is that when I stimulate some elation, it gives back to me.
I should note here that Kim and I just watched a couple of videos about how we are destroying our planet. Chasing Coral is about how global warming is destroying Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs around the world – and the enormous global consequences of that destruction. And David Attenborough in Breaking Boundaries laments a number of planetary disaster tipping points that we are going beyond – if we don’t make some serious changes. So, I’m looking on a micro low threshold level for ways to make our planet a bit more elated.
· Turn down your thermostat in the winter. Wear a sweater. It’s a micro-change, and I don’t think it creates anything called “elation,” but it’s a step.
· Don’t use plastic water bottles. And maybe persuade someone else not to use them. In our experience our suggestion does not create any elation – maybe the opposite. But the planet feels elated.
· Speak to our neighbors about their toxic lawn. All that chemical crap washes into our lake. We actually have spoken to them, and they know better, but pushing them harder won’t get anywhere. They also blow some of their leaves into the lake, despite our request. Again, I have not noted any moments of elation from our conversation, but still, maybe the planet felt some.
· I don’t need clean clothes every day. Or every week. Hey – we live alone in the woods.
· Eat better – more plant-based food, less red meat. We have pledged ourselves to vegetarian vodka and bourbon, and less of each.
· I am calling our electric co-op to see how they are reducing their/our carbon footprint.
· Unplug. Lots of appliances and devices use electricity even when they are off. And you don’t want Alexa listening in . . ..
· Vote the right way. I would say to donate to a candidate, but that leads to so much mail, snail or email, and it’s so unpleasant and a waste of paper and/or electricity.
Doing any of this stuff, in addition to helping the world, will help you feel better about yourself – a big plus. I realize there’s a fine line between “feeling better about yourself” and “being a self-righteous asshole.” Mind the difference.