I’ve been celebrating Leapalooza (usually I write it in all caps, but I’ll spare you all my annoying exuberance) for almost 3 years now (as long as I’ve known my now very good friend, Lea). It is a two-week-long holiday from September 18th through October 2nd. You may be thinking that this Lea person is probably really self-absorbed – coming up with her own two-week long holiday – but if you are thinking that then you, a. do not know Lea and b. are dead wrong. In fact the rules of Leapalooza state just the opposite:
To celebrate Leapalooza you must do something kind for someone else every day and do something that brings you joy every day (the two may be the same thing).
To say that Lea is an extraordinarily giving person would be truly an understatement. This is the girl who routinely delivers homemade baked goods to others for no reason, picks up the check (discretely!) at huge group functions, spends her hard-earned money taking her entire (huge) family to Disney World (and NYC, and on cruises), books a flight from North Carolina to New Jersey just to help you drive back down with your screaming and sick 9-month- old, and she’s also the girl who drives two hours just to have dinner with you on a Monday night because you tell her you need some girl talk (these are just some examples off the very top of my head – tip of the iceberg, really). I once described Lea to someone as being a magnet for good and that pretty much sums it up.
And, in hopes of spreading even more good tidings (especially outside the timeframes of Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the other holidays that people feel particularly giving) Lea began celebrating Leapalooza back in 2007. She herself practices Leapalooza all year but hoped that by making Leapalooza a ‘thing’, she’d be giving others more opportunity to give good. Leapalooza hasn’t quite caught on though (at least like I think it should), outside Lea’s inner circle (which is pretty big, actually what with her being a magnet for good and all). So, in hopes of making Leapalooza even more widespread I thought I’d fill everyone in on here.
Unfortunately, Leapalooza ends shortly and I had been meaning to write this post over a week ago, but not to fret, Leapalooza is obviously not just about a two-week timeframe for doing good. It’s about doing for others and nurturing your soul through that kind of good and that, well that, can be done all year long.
I assume Lea picked the two week time-period (surrounding her September 25th birthday) in hopes of making this giving good a daily habit. But, according to the 2009 study in the European Journal of Psychology researchers found that for a subset of 96 volunteers, it took a median time of 66 days to form a new habit. 66 days, people! That’s 9 1/2 weeks. That’s over two months. So, even though I didn’t get to blogging about Leapalooza until 3 days before its over, I plan on celebrating it for at least 7 more weeks – long enough to make this thing a habit. Just like working out our bodies physically on a daily basis allows us to clear our heads and make us stronger (as well as a multitude of other good results!), giving to others selflessly actually is selfish if we take into account what it does to nourish our minds and souls – making us happier overall. Gretchen Rubin (author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Project) has done quite a bit of research into what doing good does for our bodies. She says:
“And it’s not just that helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; studies show that helping others itself causes happiness. “Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons,” as one of my happiness paradoxes holds.”
So, will you join me? Let’s continue to celebrate Leapalooza, not just because it’s fun to say or because people may randomly ask you to make a human pyramid, but because by doing good for others we’ll be doing good for ourselves too.