By Angie Chandler, NBC-HWC, NASM-CPT, FLT-vLE
Have you ever had someone make your day and you responded with: “you’re just too kind!” ? Kindness is being friendly, generous and considerate. This positive behavior happens freely with no expectations of any outcome. Being kind is a selfless act, and those who are kind by nature experience all of the reciprocation they need within themselves. It’s merely the satisfaction of knowing you’ve caused something positive for someone outside of yourself. Especially during this challenging year we’re in, everyone can use a little extra kindness in their life.
There’s no protocol for kindness in public gathering places such as school, the workplace, stores or the highway. Allowing others to be the barometer for our own mood happens all too easily. We’ve all experienced levels of anger, bullying and just plain rude behavior. It’s unfortunate when the actions of others impact our wellbeing negatively. So, how can we strive for more kindness in our world? The good news is—science shows that kindness can be learned.
On World Kindness Day (or any time you need a mood lifter), consider trying one of these random acts of kindness:
- Give an unexpected gift, and expect nothing in return
- Donate anonymously to a favorite charity
- Listen with your heart
- Lend a hand
- Bake cookies and give them away
- Give a compliment
- Forgive mistakes
- Offer words of encouragement to your neighbors, friends, family and co-workers
- Let another go first in line
- Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru
- Be tolerant
- Give a flower
If you feel the joy from one of these actions, vow to complete one kind act daily for a month. Make it part of your daily routine. The world, and your wellbeing, will only be better for it.
Define what kindness means to you personally.
One simple way to project more kindness to others is recollection. Recall a time in your life when someone gave kindness freely to you when you needed it the most. How did it make you feel and how did it impact your day, week, month or even year? You should strive to help others feel as good or as special as you did at that time.
Remember the basics, such as the golden rule.
The golden rule is a guideline of reciprocity: treat others as you want to be treated. It’s a philosophy found in many religions and cultures, and, when found in our day-to-day lives, it adds kindness and improves our wellbeing. Many of us learned this in grade school, but even in adulthood, remembering the golden rule can go a long way.
Remember that kindness is a choice. It begins within us, and it’s a great way to begin each day. Going confidently into each day knowing and feeling you are in charge of your mood and mind is empowering. Exposing others to your kind disposition will influence those around you—from dusk until dawn.
Focus on what you control, such as your own attitude.
Remember that nobody else is the barometer for your experience. Maintaining your positive position makes you an influencer and a teacher to others. It’s never too late to learn a bit more about how to be kinder to ourselves and to others, at any age.
Be the sunshine, no matter the weather.
All humans are capable of being kind. When others “forget” to be the light, send out warmth and a smile. Send positive thoughts of loving kindness their way. Send good vibes or wish for something good to happen for them. They’ll be exposed to your goodness and example of peace—sunshine is contagious and makes everything brighter.
In Michigan’s colder months, the lack of sunshine and snowfall can hinder our mood. The good news? We can combat “old man winter” with a sunny disposition. It won’t change the weather, but it might change the mood of a family member, coworker, friend or complete stranger. The next time you see someone struggling with wintertime, remember the power of kindness.
Be kind to yourself.
This one’s extremely important to our personal wellbeing. We’re our own best protector and advocate. That’s why we should give ourselves the appropriate amount of time and attention. As a health and wellness coach, I often ask clients, “How will you put yourself on the list of all of your favorite people to take good care of?” and, “What would that look like?” Here is a list I love to share of 40 ways to practice self-kindness.
Believe that kindness comes from inside of you. It might be the difference between a bad day and a hopeful one. Both giving and receiving kindness is good for your overall wellbeing.
About the Author: Angela Chandler, NBC-HWC, NASM-CPT, FLT-vLE is a health coach in Priority Health’s Wellness Department and has been a ThinkHealth byline author for 5 years. She holds the 2017 National Board-certification for Health and Wellness Coaches and has worked as a wellcoaches®-certified Health and Wellness professional coach for 8 years. Angie has been a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer for 25 years, and a Firstline Therapy®-lifestyle educator for 8 years. Her professional experiences continue to fuel her passion for writing health and wellness content. Prior to Priority Health, she worked at EHAC, The MAC, and CHCC in Grand Rapids. Angie partners with people in a positive, respectful, non-judgmental and playful way that brings out their best and generates inspiration.