Why kindness matters

Kindness can take many forms – anything from a smile from a stranger to a friend helping you out in a crisis.

We all know how nice it is to be on the receiving end of kindness, but did you know that being kind to others has been scientifically proven to improve your mental health and sense of wellbeing? For example, being kind not only reduces stress, it can also improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.

An act of kindness doesn’t have to be huge, a small one can make a big difference. Here are some ways you can show kindness to help someone else out and improve your own wellbeing:

1. Smile at a stranger

Next time you’re out and about, smile at a stranger. It’s free and will brighten up their day and make you feel good. You may get one back too.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is good for the community, makes you feel good, gives you work experience and is a good way to meet new people and learn new skills.

3. Check on your neighbours

When was the last time you checked on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour? Pop over and see if they are okay or need a helping hand.

4. Contact a friend or family member

Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to or seen in a while. Have a chat and maybe catch up in person.

5. Send a thank you card or flowers

If someone has shown you kindness, send them a thank you note or flowers to show your appreciation.

6. Hold a door open

This simple act will spread a little kindness and cheer and it’s so easy to do.

7. Offer to help a new colleague

If there is a new person in the office, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Offer your help and show them the ropes.

8. Give someone a compliment

Compliment someone on their appearance or something they’ve done and feel the warm fuzzies flow.

9. Pick up rubbish

Be kind to the planet and pick up any rubbish you see lying around. Recycle your rubbish and do your bit to help the environment.

10. Be a good sort

Donate your time to a good cause or one that is close to your heart. Start a fundraiser to raise money to help a person or charity in need.

11. Be nice to customer service staff

Be polite and appreciative to waiters, café workers, checkout operators, call centre staff and other people who work in customer service. Smile and remember a small “thank you” can go a long way.

12. Do some baking

Dust off your apron and get baking for friends, workmates or a local community group. Make sure you list all the ingredients for people who may have allergies.

13. Donate unwanted clothing

Have a wardrobe clean out and give away any unwanted or unused clothes to those in need. 

14. Give up your seat on the bus

If the bus or train is full and you see someone who needs to sit down, offer them your seat.

15. Post a nice message online

The online world can be full of harsh, unkind words. Take some time to post something nice or encouraging.

Remember not to overdo it and make sure you don’t give or do too much at the expense of your own wellbeing. It’s important to set aside time for yourself so you don’t burn out.

References

  1. Kindness matters guide Mental Health Foundation UK
  2. The importance of kindness Psychology Today