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Simple Acts Of Kindness Can Improve Our Well-Being, Research Says

Simple Acts Of Kindness Can Improve Our Well-Being, Research Says

Life becomes hectic and gets in the way sometimes.  We are too busy and have too much on our plate. Life unexpectedly throws a curve ball here and there.  However, did you know that a simple act of kindness can bring you peace and joy into your life?

Research shows that random acts of kindness not only boosts your physical health but also helps you to maintain positive outlook on life.

What’s more, it doesn’t have to be grand or expensive. By nature, we are hard-wired for love and compassion. We genuinely feel good when we give, help or contribute without expectation of reciprocation of acknowledgement. It can create a powerful ripple effect that people continue to pay forward what they have received. Thus, kindness is a win-win which brightens our community as a whole.

So, why not start today? Make kindness a daily habit. Make a difference in your life and someone else’s. Besides, kindness is contagious. What goes around comes around. It is particularly true with kindness. Show your kindness in any given moment, at any place and with anyone. They will remember your generosity and they will turn around and spread kindness to others as well. It will also be an excellent opportunity to teach your children to do the same and grow up to be kind adults.

While there are plenty of simple things we can do without breaking a sweat, and yet are easy to forget to practice, start with these 15 simple acts of kindness you can do today, tomorrow and everyday. They will certainly make your day and someone else’s.

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1. Put on a smile

One of most attractive trait in a person is a nice friendly smile. Saying hello with a smile makes you approachable and a good impression.  Smiles can open the door for you to make more friendly friends and expand your social circles.

2. Show your love

We value relationships more than material things in life. According to Maya Angelou, people will never forget how we made them feel. So make them feel loved, especially the ones who are dear to you.  Check out The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman if you want to learn more on how to express love.

3. Forgive

Forgiveness is not an easy task. It takes courage and sometimes a lot of time and practice. However, forgiving with empathy is part of being kind to someone, especially the one who wronged you and hurt you in some way. Also, be kind to yourself and forgive your mistakes. Self-love is to treat you with such kindness that you don’t allow anger, resentment or negativities in your life.

4. Open the door or hold an elevator

We live in a world where everything needs to be rushed through. Holding doors for others seems to be simply cultural practices in our society.  However, we do it not because it’s customarily expected but because it’s our intention to help others to minimize the collective effort that needs to be spent on daily tasks, which ultimately makes everyone’s life a bit easier.

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5. Bring a cup of joe for a colleague

A simple gesture like bringing a cup of coffee for someone in the morning will make their day.  A little consideration like this will foster their productivity at work while promoting the relationship which in turn will make your workplace friendly and kinder place.

6. Give up your seat at the waiting room, on the train or bus

The next time you are traveling by bus or in a public place, offer your seat to an elderly person. This is a great way to show your respect for the elderly. Perhaps there is a pregnant woman or a child struggling to stay standing on a moving vehicle. Offer your seat to someone who needs it every time you have the opportunity.

7. Give a hand to someone who needs help with something heavy

When you see a woman struggling to walk up stairs with kids and heavy bags, help her. Even the smallest act of service is rewarding and joyful. You wouldn’t want your wife or sister struggling without anyone’s help, would you?

8. Let someone merge during traffic

We all get frustrated in traffic at one time or another. One additional car in front of you isn’t going to make you arrive any earlier or later than you already would have been. So the next time someone is waiting to merge, be the kind person and let him in.

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9. Offer a babysitting to a friend

Parenting is the most rewarding job and at the same time overwhelming. Offer to babysit for a friend or neighbor, especially a single parent who doesn’t get much help. This simple support will give a parent a break to recharge and relax a bit which will also benefit the child.

10. Bake cookies for your new neighbour

Well, it doesn’t have to be baked-cookies. You can offer a cold glass of water to a neighbor who’s trimming a tree in a hot summer day. Paying a visit with a bright smile or inviting them over for a tea would make them feel safe and welcomed.

11. Bring a cup of chicken soup to a sick person

We remember how we’ve felt when someone took care of us when we were sick. Show them you care and offer help when needed. This will lift his spirit up.  In addition, it will make both his stomach and his heart warm and fuzzy.

12. Don’t interrupt when someone is talking

Pay attention to what the other person is saying. Active listening is not only an act of kindness but also a skill that we can benefit from improving. You will have more chance to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.

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13. Fix Something for someone else

If someone needs to have something fixed or put together, and you are handy with these sorts of things, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer your skills. Surprisingly, you may enjoy some fun doing it together. The bonus is the more you put your skill into practice the better you will get at it.

14. Give compliments

As words have the power to both heal and destroy, a nice compliment can reinforce their value in the world. With genuine compliments, you let them know they are noticed. So, speak kindly and give them a little gift of appreciation.

15. Say yes to a donation request

Making a donation doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars or hard work at Habitat for humanity. It can be a $1 donation to a local shelter or a can of soup for your local food bank. It won’t break your wallet. Imagine there’s someone out there smiling when they receive what you gave.

So, what’s in your kindness jar today?

More by this author

Kris Lee

Emotional health and communication writer

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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