Let me share something I am embarking on more consciously recently after listening to a discussion about the destructive neknomination games that have been happening on various social media. It’s not that I do not practise this often, but, like others, I am rarely deliberate about acts of kindness and usually just respond involuntarily to others in a kind way. But I have since discovered that, when you are purposefully kind, it is generally reciprocated.
Helping others is not only a good thing to do, it also makes us happier. Giving also connects us to others and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money; we can also give our time and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good!
Doing things for others is a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well the happiness of those around you. The people we help can be strangers, family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. They can be old or young, nearby or far away.
Giving to others can be as simple as a single kind word, smile or a thoughtful gesture. It can include giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Acts of kindness increase life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves our mood and reduces stress. It can help to take our minds off our own troubles too.
Giving to others helps us connect with people and meets some of our basic human needs. Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves. Kindness and selfless giving really are the key to creating a happier, more trusting local community.
Nourishing your Life
So this week, why not nourish your life with random acts of kindness. Say “I love you” to the people you love. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Let someone out in front of you in traffic.
Give something to the homeless. Write a thank you note to one of your teachers, past or present. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Help the elderly and parents with small children. Thank the men and women in uniform. Smile and say hello to a complete stranger. Be kind to people and animals. Buy someone lunch or dinner. Volunteer in your community. Take a minute to direct someone who is lost. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbour. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the shopping centre stairs. Each time you get a new item of clothing, give away something old. Bring your colleagues coffee. Send flowers to a friend.
Say “please” and “thank you” and really mean it. When you are on a crowded train or bus, offer your seat to someone who looks like they need it more. Forgive someone a debt and never bring it up again.
Write a note to the boss or someone who helps you, and explain how great a job that person is doing. Simply say “I am sorry” when you are wrong. Encourage someone who seems despondent. Ask someone “How are you really doing?” and then really listen to their response.
Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, practise genuine random acts of kindness wherever you can and always remember that kindness will always beget kindness.