Today, Wednesday 17th February 2021, is random acts of kindness day.
‘Well, that’s very nice but so what?’ you might think. Evidence shows that not only do acts of kindness make other people feel good but they also make us feel good.
Kindness has also been show to reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing. It can improve our self esteem, improve levels of happiness and encourage us to be more active. Especially during the time of coronovirus, it can help decrease feelings of isolation and improve our feelings of connection with others. (References on the Mental Health Foundation page). We can make a difference to our lives and to other people, animals and the environment.
(Random) acts of kindness can be as simple as picking up litter whilst out for a walk, smiling and saying hello to someone as you walk by, or making someone a cup of tea without being asked.
Kindness can be shown in our actions and words, and from a yoga perspective can be linked to yoga philosophy and ways of living such as ahimsa.
Kindness spreads and can also come back to you. For example, last summer it was hot (yes, even in Scotland) and there were lots of people walking their dogs where I live. I noticed a neighbour had a bowl of water for dogs outside their house, so I got one and did the same. A week later, someone left a painted thank you pebble which said ‘woof’ on one side and ‘thank you’ on the other. The pebble is now in my rock garden at the front of the house and visible for others to see.
What (random) acts of kindness can I do?
Acts of kindness can be one-offs, or you could plan a week of different things, or something longer like volunteering. The Random Acts of Kindness website has a page of ideas and also monthly calendars you can download. Here’s some for inspiration:
- comment favourably on someone’s social media post instead of scrolling past
- text or write to a friend you haven’t been in touch with for a while and ask how they’re doing
- donate to a good cause (if you have the means to do so)
- skill swap with a friend for half an hour (over video if not possible in person)
- help out with chores or tasks around the home that you wouldn’t normally do
- share a good news social media post or promote online a cause you believe in
There may be lots more you can think of, and when coronavirus restrictions ease it will be possible to do more. The Mental Health Foundation has a list of ideas along with references of evidence as to the benefits of kindness.
You might like to keep a record of what you do so that you can look back every few weeks and get a second buzz of satisfaction of knowing you’re spreading kindness and goodwill.
What one thing can do you after reading this?