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30 Ways To Be Kind and Be Happier

30 Ways To Be Kind and Be Happier

If you are kind, can it really make you happier?  Research projects have shown this is indeed the case. In one interesting study conducted by the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia, participants were asked to recall spending a small sum of money either on themselves or to help someone in need. Those who donated that sum to charity or as a gift  remembered being much happier than when they had spent the money on themselves.

Researchers also found that once people got into the loop of being kind which was followed by a feeling of happiness, then they were more likely to do lots of other acts. It is a win-win situation. Psychologists call this the ‘helper’s high’. The exact biological process which links positive emotions to physical and mental well being is not fully understood yet. But the results are there for all to see!  So, if you want to feel happier, try some of these 30 ways of being kind. The more variety, the better.

1. Telephone a lonely person.

There is always one person in your group of acquaintances who is lonely and isolated. Try calling him or her, every now and again.

2. Hold the door open.

No matter who it is, hold the door open.

3. Change the toner or paper in the photocopier.

The next time you see a colleague swearing because the toner or paper runs out, step up to the plate. Do it with a pleasant smile and you have new fan.

4. Buy someone a coffee.

When you go to the coffee machine and see a colleague there, offer to buy her a coffee. If you are going to the water cooler, try offering to get someone else a cup of water while you’re on your way.

5. Help a disabled person.

Offer to push a wheelchair, help them across the street or fetch their medicines.

6. Any small change?

When you see all those coins which are a real nuisance, pop them into the next beggar’s baseball cap.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGOut1X5u0E

7. Offer to do the shopping.

Maybe there is an elderly person in your condo or someone who has had an accident. Offer to do the shopping.

8. Offer your place in the supermarket queue.

When you see someone getting anxious in the queue, let them go first.

9. Driving with kindness.

Lots of opportunities here. Waving a pedestrian across the street or stopping to let a car park.

10. Pay a few compliments.

Let your partner know how great they look today. Compliment a colleague or a friend on their new outfit.

11. Smile more often.

Try walking down a corridor at work and smile all the way there. You might be surprised at how many smiles you get back. It is infectious!

12. Express your gratitude.

Saying “thank you” and “please” are like the oil that lubricates the engine of human interaction. Works every time!

13. Reach out to a person in need.

Do you know someone who is ill or in hospital? Reach out by choosing one of these:

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  • Send them a text message
  • Phone them
  • Send flowers
  • Send a card

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato

14. Talk to a shy person.

Have you ever noticed how shy people struggle at social gatherings? Try a little act of kindness just by talking to them. You could be surprised at what you discover.

15. Donate to a disaster fund.

The next time you see a catastrophe on TV, note the charity donation number and send the SMS.

16. Teach your kids kindness.

If you are a parent or work with young people in a youth organization or at a school, raise awareness about the needy. Encourage them to give away their old toys and books which are still in good condition.

17. Be a modern Johnny Appleseed.

Be inspired and plant a few trees/plants/bushes/flowers in the neglected areas of your neighborhood. Watch the video below.

18. Stop complaining for a week.

This is probably the kindest act of all! Spreading negativity drags people down. Concentrate on the positives for a week. You will be pleasantly surprised.

19. Grow your hair.

Did you know that there are charities that make wigs from real hair for children who have suffered from hair loss during cancer treatment? If you have hair, let it grow and donate it to one of these charities.

20. Help a needy driver.

If a driver is in trouble, pull over and offer your assistance by phoning for help or helping to change a tire.

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21. Show affection.

Show people you love that you really mean it. A hug, a kiss, a gentle pat on the back or any sign of affection will be appreciated. If you want to give free hugs in the street, watch the video below. This has been watched by 75 million people!

22. Leave some money on the street.

Just a random act of kindness. Try leaving a banknote or a few coins on the street where a poor person can find them.

23. Invite someone to dinner.

Choose a co-worker or neighbour who you feel is rather lonely and offer them your hospitality.

24. Listen to someone who has a problem.

Being a good listener is a great sign that you can display empathy and warmth. Just listen and try not to interrupt with advice. There will be other opportunities for that.

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”- George Sand

25. Help a co-worker

When you see a colleague in real difficulty because of a scary deadline, a tyrannical boss or because they are suffering bereavement, lend a helping hand.

26. Contact your local shelter or soup kitchen

Ask them what they need most for supporting the needy and homeless. It could be anything from running an errand, shopping or baking a cake for them.

27. Give up a parking space.

Soar above the desire to be the first to get that parking space.

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28. Give away your favorite book.

You have read that book loads of times.Time to give it away. Leave it on the bus or train, with a note inside saying why you think it is a gem.

29. Send a depressed friend a funny video.

Laughter is a great tonic for depression. Choose your favorite funny video form YouTube and send the link by email.

30. Give flowers or food to an elderly neighbor.

Look at all the roses you have in the garden. Remember the leftover lasagne in the fridge?  Pack them up and give them to an elderly neighbour.

 

Try to do one or two of these acts of kindness every week. Change it up each time. Look at what you get for a few acts of kindness. Your mental and physical health will improve. You are less likely to suffer from heart disease, blood pressure, stress, and depression. It’s a bargain- go for it!

“Life’s most persistent and nagging question is ‘What are you doing for others?'”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Featured photo credit: KIndness-Mark Twain/ BK via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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