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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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