Everywhere you look, kindness is easy to pratice. From a friend sending a thoughtful text message to a stranger holding the bus for someone running late or a person paying for someone else’s coffee, acts of kindness happen every day. While these moments can have a monumental impact on the person on the receiving end, they often go unrecognized.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that performing acts of kindness improves individual well-being and leads to more positive moods. At the same time, many people underestimate the impact their kindness may have on themselves and others.
The American health authorities agree – the US Surgeon General’s advisory revealed how fostering positive connection among friends, family and communities can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions, people should consider ways to weave moments of kindness into their daily lives. Here are a few simple ways to show kindness:
Hold the door for strangers
It may seem small, but holding the door for someone who is entering or exiting a building after you is a brief way to offer a helping hand and set off a contagious string of goodwill.
Send a thoughtful surprise
Sending someone a favourite treat, book or even a photo memory can provide a positive boost to not only the recipient but the sender as well. To take this gesture one step further, have a gift delivered to a person you don’t know but may be in need of a thoughtful gesture – such as a basket to a soldier overseas or senior citizens in local nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Celebrate and share kindness online
So much of the world is connected via social media. To build positive connections online, seek out digital spaces that emphasise and inspire kindness.
Look for volunteer opportunities
Volunteering time to local organisations, such as nursing homes, homeless shelters or food pantries, is an engaging and personal way to help those in your community.
Be kind to your mind
By practicing gratitude, compassion and kindness toward yourself, you can spark moments of kindness that are more genuine and intentional with others. Meditation practice, such as the free, guided collection from Starbucks and Headspace, invites calm and kindness, opening the door to cultivate a more considerate relationship with mind, body and world.
“Experiencing kindness in the world begins with cultivating kindness toward ourselves,” said Dora Kamau, mindfulness and meditation teacher at Headspace. “This week, try being kind to your mind and notice how this has a ripple effect on others and the world around you.”