Being kind to others is a quick and easy way to boost mood and reduce anxiety, not just for others but for yourself too. Research shows that being kind to others increases feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. Focusing on doing good for others can give us time away from the things that make us stressed or worried.
The wonderful thing about kindness is that it comes back around to you. One person’s kind actions can have a ripple effect on people around them, which makes our community a kinder and nicer place to live.
You can spread kindness in your community by donating to a local cause. You could donate clothes and toys to a charity shop, or donate some cans to the local food bank. If you have time, you could volunteer. There are lots of volunteer opportunities available from animal care to befriending, and details of how to get started can be found here.
We are lucky enough to share our planet with a huge array of curious creatures and amazing animals. Extending our kindness to animals is good for us too, with research showing that spending time with animals helps boost our mood, reduce blood pressure and even increase our energy levels. You can show kindness to animals in many ways; If you have an outdoor space you can make an easy homemade bird feeder to put in the garden by following this tutorial. Or you could take a trip to feed the ducks and other birds at the park. Remember that bread is not good for ducks – but they really like cooked rice, oats and even peas!
There’s certainly truth in the old adage “It’s the thought that counts”. Did you know that random acts of kindness such as giving gifts can reduce stress and even boost our immune systems? It needn’t be a costly gift either. You could do a drawing for someone, or write them a letter. All it takes is something small to let someone know you’re thinking of them.
While being kind to others is great, it’s also important to treat yourself with the kindness you deserve. There’s evidence that self-kindness improves mood, promotes optimism and boosts our connection with others. Some simple tools for having a self kindness mindset include;
- Asking yourself “What would I say to a friend in this situation?” can help develop self compassion.
- Asking yourself “What do I need?” is a great first step to recognising what self care practices could benefit you. It could be anything from having a long bath to taking up a new hobby.