Kindness is one heck of an underrated quality, but it’s a powerful and transformative gift that you can give to yourself and others. Here are some tips to make your world a kinder place.
1) Start with you
There’s a saying that goes you can’t pour from an empty cup. This phrase is often used when it comes to self-care however it’s equally relevant with self-kindness. Many people are kinder to others than they are to themselves. This is a problem because it can mean they’re susceptible to low mood from negative self-talk, or can end up resenting others they feel might be taking too much from them.
Is there something you’ve been giving yourself a hard time about lately? Imagine it was a friend telling you about it. What advice would you give to them? Write it down and read it back to yourself. Believe it. If the negative thoughts crop back up go back and read it again. Be kind to yourself.
2) Call a loved one
At SH:24 we’ve learned that people love to text - we’ve had around 72,000 text conversations to date. Text messaging can often help us say things that might be embarrassing or difficult because we don’t have to see the person we’re telling. On the flip side though, through written communication, we can often lose a lot of the richness of a face-to-face or phone conversation. On the phone we can pick up clues about the real way someone feels about something from the tone in their voice, have a more organic flow of conversation or delight in the feeling of a shared laugh. Open up your phonebook, pick someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and give them a call.
3) Give compliments to three people you know
Everyone loves compliments, even though we’re often a bit rubbish at accepting them. Take a few minutes to compliment someone on something they do well, if you can, give a really concrete example so they can’t brush it off or minimise it. We guarantee you this will absolutely make their day (even if on the surface they are a wee bit British and embarrassed) and you’ll feel good for seeing them shine. Double win.
4) Gift a book to a stranger
Bookcrossing is the act of freeing one of your books for another person to read. With the Bookcrossing website you can follow the book’s journey by logging it with a code before releasing. Other bookcrossers can then see where you have released it to and pick it up and log they have it. If you’re leaving it outside in winter you might want to think about putting it in a clear plastic bag to keep it dry. Read more about Bookcrossing here bookcrossing.com
5) Spend an hour with someone who is socially isolated
Studies have found that social isolation has a direct influence on people’s physical health. There are lots times in people’s lives they may experience isolation - new parenthood, being a carer, ageing or having a disability are just a few situations where someone’s social connections may be reduced. Could you spare an hour to reach out to someone who might be feeling isolated. This could be someone you know but there are also some great projects to help reduce social isolation that you can get involved in for example the Good Gym, BuddyHub or Age UK's telephone befriending service.
There you go. We absolutely believe you should start with self-kindness, though we reckon most of these acts will have the benefit of making you feel good too!