Sounds obvious, right? Kindness is one of those basic humanistic straits that is found in each and every one of us. We crave kindness from others and we project kindness towards those around us. But how does this really affect our overall happiness?
It can be very easy to be kind to the people we know in our lives, the people we feel fond of but it can be harder to show that same level of kindness to strangers. The detachment we have towards random people we encounter can lead to us dismissing opportunities to act in a kind manner.
But studies have shown that being less selfish and more altruistic can really have a wonderful effect on our happiness and in fact, the more we show kindness to others without expectation of anything in return, actually creates a type of kindness-happiness loop – the more acts of kindness we take elevates our sense of happiness which, in turn, causes us to want to do more acts of kindness.
It’s nothing new to say that interactions with others helps with our confidence and self-worth. Connecting with others, even in a fleeting moment of kindness, can do wonders for our well-being and not only for us but the person on the receiving end. How nice is it when a shop assistant smiles at you and is extra helpful when you’ve been having a bad day? How good do you feel when you give up your seat for someone less fortunate than you? They may seem like small, insignificant instances but these moments really are beneficial to your health and happiness as well as lifting the spirits of others.
Latest studies and research is starting to show that the more you practice kindness, the more you are enhancing the welfare of others and you can start to feel less lonely in yourself. Not only that but involving yourself in acts of kindness can result in stronger immune systems, less aches and pains and less depression. Doing volunteering work has even shown to strengthen cardiovascular systems. It seems the knowledge of doing something good for others without getting anything back from it is a really huge boost to our health, in both mind and body.
With that in mind, here are some tips for ways of incorporating kindness into your life:
Realise how to be compassionate and kind to yourself. Everything starts with yourself. Understand that being kind to yourself is important to projecting that onto other people and will make your kindness more authentic. Being able to relate to others from understanding your own needs opens up the opportunities for kindness much more.
Listen. Listening and being aware of others is so important when doing an act of kindness. This allows you to be much more capable of seeing opportunities. It’s when the action meets the need where the magic really happens so notice that someone might be struggling with heavy bags, unable to open the door because their hands are full. The awareness of moments is the key to success.
It’s the small things that count. An act of kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Dedicating yourself to a massive cause to make a difference isn’t necessary. Sometimes the smallest thing can change someone’s whole day.
Don’t give up. Sometimes it can be hard to constantly find opportunities to be kind. We have bad days and bad moods and that’s ok. We may feel self-conscious or shy to do something and possibly feel that we aren’t capable of it. But we are all capable of showing kindness and most of the time it’s just a mindset. Everyone has the capability of sharing kindness we just need to realise our potential to do it.
So why not seek out opportunities to do something kind? Perhaps start with those closer to you. Offer to do something nice for someone – offer to cook dinner if you don’t usually cook, simply make a cup of tea or run a bath. Being kind to strangers can sometimes lie outside of our comfort zones but build up to it and notice any opportunities to be kind. Equally, we may know we are capable but we can easily slip into ourselves and the rushed busyness of life, causing us to not notice the opportunities. Even just smiling at the shop assistant and telling them to have a nice day – you never know, you may be the beacon of light in someone’s god-awful dark day and what a lovely thought that is? 🙂