When we’re young, we’re often told to share and to be kind to others. Kindness is beneficial to us all whether we’re on the giving or receiving end, but it can also improve our mental well-being. As the medical community has seen mental health conditions rise over the years, kindness can help us all connect at a deeper level and acknowledge each other’s worth.
We earn the trust and respect of others when we do something kind and also improves our own self-esteem. Kindness is a reciprocal cycle that improves our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and others. If kindness is something you’d like to improve upon this season, there are scientifically-backed ways to get better at it. As with any skill, the more we practice, the easier the skill becomes.
Have Good Intentions
To build positive relationships, you must have good intentions behind your acts of kindness. Research has shown that when others know we have their best interests at heart, their experience of receiving kindness is better. With a positive mindset, others will be more attracted to us versus if we have a cynical mindset.
Put Yourself in their Shoes
When we put ourselves in other’s shoes, we can increase our empathy and kindness towards them. Research studies show that when we imagine ourselves in a situation from that person’s perspective, we gain deeper insight into why they might act the way that they do. This can help us interact with that person on a much deeper level.
Integrating more acts of kindness into your life doesn’t have to happen overnight. Begin to turn your kind thoughts into kind actions. Your acts of kindness don’t have to be over-the-top or even cost any money. Often the best acts of kindness are the simplest ones such as holding a door, saying “please” and “thank you”, or just smiling or starting a friendly conversation with another. Remember, being kind to others is a muscle. The more we build this muscle, the easier it gets.
Here are a few ways you can start to practice kindness this year:
· Give a compliment.
· Tell a family member you love them.
· Smile at others around you.
· Do something nice for a stranger.
· Donate to a charity you support.
· Volunteer in your local community.
· Plan a night out with a loved one or friend
· Give encouragement to someone who needs it.
· Forgive someone
· Apologize for a past mistake
· Call or text an old friend
· If someone needs to vent, be a good listener
· Give a small gift to a friend
· Say “please” and “thank you”
· Leave a generous tip when dining out.
· Pass along a great book you’ve just finished reading.
· Deliver goodies to your local fire department or police department.
· Give blood.
· Help a neighbor with yard work
· Tell someone you appreciate them.
· Leave a positive comment for someone on social media.
· Spend more time with your kids and pets.
· Do something nice for yourself and practice some self-care.