I think that people are inherently kind. I also think that even though people are essentially kind they find it easy to squelch that impulse. And so sometimes we have to make ourselves be kind. Not that we want to be mean or hurtful, but we have to make an effort to be kind, or perhaps I should say, kinder.
Kindness matters. Even the smallest act of kindness has the potential to make a big impact on a person. So make an effort this week (and always) to incorporate one or more of these five small acts of kindness into your daily routine:
- Smile. Smile when you’re talking on the phone. Smile at strangers. Smile at your family and co-workers. Smiling releases endorphins (natural painkiller) and serotonin (natural antidepressant) in your brain. When someone sees you smile, their brain releases serotonin too. If they smile back at you – double whammy for you, because you get yet more serotonin! That feels really good.
- Tell those you love that you love them. Every day. Has it been a while? Feeling a bit awkward about it? Start small. “I love the way you are always looking out for your brother” or “I love that you take the time to ___.” If saying the word love is hard, use appreciate: “I appreciate you.” Work up to saying “I love you.” Once you get there, say it every day.
- Pay compliments. Make them sincere. If you don’t have something nice to say, try harder to think of something. Still stuck? Try completing this sentence: “I really appreciate the effort you are making to ___.”
- Stop complaining. Stop complaining about others; stop complaining to others. If you find yourself caught up in a hate-fest, then take the initiative to say, “Stop. I’m trying to be more kind. Can we change the subject or find something that we are grateful for about this person/situation?”
- Say “please” and “thank you.” You know you were taught this as a child, but are you still doing it? Get back in the habit if that’s a habit that you’ve let slip.
These simple things can make you and those around you happier. Start today. Start right now, actively practicing kindness.