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15 Ways You Can Adopt To Make Kindness Your Habit.

15 Ways You Can Adopt To Make Kindness Your Habit.

Kindness is not just a habit for priests and other do-gooders. It’s a habit for all of us. Medical science has proved that being kind alters our body chemistry and brings all sorts of benefits, including improving our mood, lowering our blood pressure and increasing our positive thinking.

Acts of kindness boost production of serotonin, a natural antidepressant in the brain, for the giver, the receiver and those who witness the kind acts. Kindness is such a beautiful thing. Reports actually show being kind not only improves your happiness, but also extends your life span.

To be a better, happier person, you need to be kind every day, all the time. That includes being kind to both those you like and those you dislike or disagree with. If you are unkind to others, it tends to cause more harm to you than to the person you are performing unkind acts to.

The problem with being unkind

Thing is, being unkind fosters negative thoughts. It increases fatigue and raises your blood pressure. You lose sleep and become distracted from important and enjoyable activities, which ultimately impairs the quality of your personal and professional life. Moreover, being unkind makes you feel bad and has an adverse impact on your health. It is simply wasted energy.

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So, be kind. Make the commitment to act kindly, speak kindly and live kindly. You’ll be happier for it, as will those around you. One way or another, acts of kindness always come back to you. Besides, there are so many delightful ways to show kindness and make it a part of your daily life.

Here are some ways to make kindness your habit:

1. Smile a lot.

Smiles are contagious. They lift the spirits of people around you. Extra points if you can smile and have a cordial conversation with a homeless person.

2. Say “Good morning.”

A simple good morning accompanied with a pleasant smile creates an instant connection. Even if you don’t know someone, saying “Good morning” is a common courtesy. It shows you recognize their presence and acknowledge they are a person too, important enough for you to say hello to.

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3. Spend quality time with loved ones.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and fail to realize you are not spending as much time as you’d like with family and friends. Take time every week – no matter how busy you are – to spend with your loved ones, and tell your family members how much you appreciate them every day.

4. Sacrifice, even in a small way.

Share your lunch with a homeless person, buy groceries for someone in line with you at the supermarket or just help an elderly neighbor carry the rubbish out. These small acts of kindness make someone else’s day.

5. Be generous with compliments.

Compliment and say genuinely nice things to people. Even a small comment in passing can uplift someone, and make you feel better about yourself.

6. Mentor a child or teen.

Someone observed encouraged people achieve the best; dominated people achieve second best; neglected people achieve the least. This is especially true when it comes to an at risk child. Don’t let children go neglected and or dominated. Became a mentor and encourage them to achieve their best.

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7. Give the benefit of the doubt

Lawyers insist people are innocent until proven guilty. Make this the default rule in your life. Don’t be quick to judge and condemn others. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t you also want others to give you the benefit of the doubt and not judge you too quickly?

8. Forgive others.

We all make mistakes. No one is perfect or blameless. So, extend grace to those who have wronged you. You will need the same grace extended to you in the future.

9. Pat someone on the back.

A pat on the back can be a way to say “hello” to a friend, a way to congratulate someone for an achievement or a way to comfort someone who’s had a bad experience. It’s a beautiful gesture that lets others know you care. People thrive on such physical contact. Consider giving free hugs, too.

10. Be patient and polite on the road.

When a driver needs to make a turn, change lanes or merge into your lane, let them through with a wave and a smile. And if another driver makes you angry, let it go instead of retaliating. Letting go can make a big difference.

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11. Thank your employees.

Nothing shows good leadership, great communication skills and depth of character quite like a boss who is not afraid or shy of saying thank you to his employees. Bring your assistant coffee. It shows deep appreciation and can go a long way in strengthening your work relationship.

12. Bring your coworkers a special treat.

Similarly, show appreciation to your coworkers. Bring those donuts, cookies or a homemade treat. Small surprises and tokens of appreciation spread good cheer in the workplace and build comradeship.

13. Let someone go in front of you.

Many times we encounter a situation where we are required to wait in line. Whether it is at the bank, in the supermarket or at the airport, waiting in line can be frustrating, tedious and irritating. Ease that tension by letting someone go in front of you. It helps make someone’s day a little better.

14. Offer the handyman a drink or snack.

We’ve all had to call a handyman to help us out with things like a leaky faucet that needs fixing, a furnace that needs replacing or a lawn that needs mowing. Offer them a drink or snack. Don’t forget the delivery person. Give a fruit and let them know you appreciate the work they are doing for you.

15. Embrace your own mistakes.

Love and be kind to yourself too. Accept that you are human and will make mistakes sometimes. Instead of being hard on yourself for making a mistake, ask yourself what you can learn from it. Make amends where applicable and move forward. It won’t help anyone to dwell on mistakes and feel guilty about them. As John Powell rightly said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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