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15 Powerful Ways to Create a Kinder Mind

15 Powerful Ways to Create a Kinder Mind

Your mindset plays a major role in how happy and successful you are in life. If you can create a kinder mind, you will face fewer mental struggles and make everyone else’s world a little nicer too. Here are 15 powerful ways to create a kinder mental environment, so that you can grow as a person, serve the world, and feel a greater well-being.

1. Let go of perfectionism.

Expecting yourself, or anyone else, to be perfect is not only impossible, but is also very unkind. Cut yourself and the rest of the world some slack. A kinder mind lives by the principle of making steady progress rather than being perfect.

2. Talk kindly to yourself.

Many people criticize themselves way too much. Beating yourself up is a really ineffective way of changing things you don’t like. Have a kinder mind by talking to yourself as you would to a close friend. Being gentle with your speech will also shape the way you view and interact with everyone around you.

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3. Acknowledge your humanity.

We would all have kinder minds if we stopped struggling with other humans and recognized what is common among us all—our humanity. Whatever conflicts there are between us, we’re all coming from the same place of being a human. We’re all just trying to make our way in the world the best way we know how. Create and enjoy a kinder mind by regularly reminding yourself that no matter what else is different, our humanity makes everyone in the world the same.

4. Help others.

A large part of being kind is being willing to help others who are struggling, but you can also create a kinder mind by offering to assist when you are struggling yourself. Giving someone else a hand actually makes us forget some of our own troubles and feel more grateful for our good fortune.

5. Be kind to your body.

You cannot have a kinder mind if you treat your body abysmally. The mind and body are intimately connected, so to have a kinder mind, you need to be kind to your body. Give yourself a good balance of water, rest and nutritious food to support your mental well-being.

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6. Make other people’s lives easier.

You don’t have to make grand gestures to have a big impact on the well-being of others. You can do little things to make the lives of people around you easier. Whether it’s doing chores without being asked, filling the car up when you’ve used it, or putting the bins in an easy place for your local council to collect, these simple things can make someone else’s day go a little smoother. Someone with a kinder mind is considerate of others in many small but important ways.

7. Stop judging people.

One of the best ways to create a kinder mind is to stop making judgments about other people, including yourself. If you want to create a kinder mind more quickly, wear an elastic band around your wrist and snap it whenever you notice yourself making a judgement. Replace the judgmental thought immediately with a kinder one.

8. Listen.

One of the simplest things you can do to create a kinder mind is to just listen to others. Take the time to truly hear what other people’s hopes, dreams, concerns, and experiences are. Listening carefully can give you new perspectives and help you to become kinder and fairer.

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9. Thank your teachers.

Someone who wants to cultivate and spread kindness will make the effort to thank those who have taught and mentored them, and those who have contributed positively to their lives. A kinder mind is created by thanking the teachers who you may have seen as bad or negative. Recognize that they may have taught you even more, and these may well have been harder lessons. Be sure to thank them too.

10. Give and accept compliments.

Giving a compliment to someone just to brighten their day is a really easy way of being kind. A kinder mind will accept any compliments returned with graciousness. Sometimes our insecurities make us want to refuse or reject a compliment. In this case, keep it simple, and just smile and say “thank you” if someone compliments you.

11. Have fun.

Sometimes when we’re trying to develop ourselves, it is easy to make things unnecessarily earnest and dour. Growth is not about being serious or miserable, so have lots of fun as you strive to create a kinder mind. Do things that make you smile, laugh and feel joyful.

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12. Focus on the good.

In all situations, we have a choice about what we focus on. The negatives and positives are both there—it is always down to what we choose to see. Instead of criticizing people or things, focus on what you like about them, or what you can learn from them.

13. Cherish differences.

It is truly kind to accept and appreciate differences in people—and their tastes, opinions and desires. Create a kinder mind by valuing each and every person and their contribution to the world, and seeing that they are just as valid as anyone else’s.

14. Empathize.

Before you react negatively to anyone else’s perceived flaws or foibles, put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine how it might feel to live with their unique issues, problems and insecurities. Someone with a kinder mind will have compassion for people who act unwisely, rather than condemning them.

15. Validate yourself.

Remember to cheer yourself on in life if you want to create a kinder mind. Before you go to bed every night, validate yourself for the things you did well, the problems you solved skilfully, and the lessons you have learned. A kinder mind is brought about by encouragement and care. Acknowledge how hard you have tried, and give compassion to yourself when things are tough.

Featured photo credit: Young woman wearing glasses laughing in the fall via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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