The Mental Health Foundation’s campaign to raise awareness of Mental Health this year focuses on Kindness! This is really exciting, to be able to promote kind acts is at the heart of what I do, I am delighted to share some definitions, research findings and ideas for how to incorporate kindness into your daily life with ease and for free!
Definition: The quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people, or an act showing this quality.
In positive psychology kindness is a character strength coming under the virtue of humanity. This strength may also include such concepts as generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, and altruistic love. Right now we need to be in touch with our humaness, connecting with each other for strength, support and community.
How and why kindness can support mental wellness, build resilience and be contagious?
Research shows seven days of performing kind acts results in more happiness, and there’s a positive relationship between the number of kind acts and the level of happiness someone experiences.
Kindness fuels connection and is a prosocial behaviour that benefits the giver and the receiver. Interestingly people who are lower socioeconomic status show more generosity, charitability, and helpfulness. Having parents who discuss emotions results in toddlers who are more inclined to share! More sociable children are more inclined to prosocial behaviour – sharing toys etc
Be mindful that sometimes what one perceives to be an act of kindness may not be received as such. It’s a good idea to ask what someone would prefer before deciding to buy a burger and give it to a homeless person… don’t project what you would like onto others, this may result in causing offence. It can also feel loaded with judgement. If in doubt ask.
Doing kind acts and showing gratitude might be difficult for some, but the more you do it, the easier it is. You’ll also be happier and less stressed by the end of your day.
If you want to get really great at giving to others then practice with yourself, silence the inner critic, reduce the negative self-talk and reframe your healthy living activities to be radical acts of self love. Kindness is a practice, a skill that you can become better at, strengthen that kindness muscle begin with you! The better you are at being kind to yourself – I don’t mean buying big material things, I mean noticing the things you do to look after you, brushing your teeth, preparing nice nutritious, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, take time to be conscious in your everyday living activities – these are acts of self love.
Some kind acts that are that can be easily included in your week:
- Write a thank you note to someone
- Say hello to people as walk by on your daily exercise
- If you live with others make the tea for everyone
- Get involved in your local mutual aid group and offer to help
- Contact your local mutual aid group and say thank you to them
- Call a friend and connect, be present, listen
- Support your friends who are self-employed by sharing any work they are doing
- Propagate some seeds – flowers or veggies and once they get big enough give them to friends and neighbours
- Take a neighbours dog for a walk (if they can’t)
- Clean your street
- Plant flowers in your local tree pits
- Give your time and skills to help someone else
- Anything that you can think of that will make someone else feel acknowledged, valued, seen and connected
- Try something new that you’ve always wanted to do & invite someone else to share this with you
- Make a card and send it
What else do you think you might be able to do?
Thank you for taking time to read this, have a brilliant day!