Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot of time, or a lot of effort, or a lot of money—to make a big difference in someone’s life with kindness. There are small things that we can do, that are truly meaningful that can make a real difference for a friend, a client, a coworker, and/or yourself.
Here are a few examples of simple tips for practicing kindness and make a significantly positive impact…
1. Replace Reactivity with Response-Ability
When you feel yourself being emotionally “triggered”—i.e. experiencing a big emotional upset—pause to take a few deep slow breaths, before deciding how to respond externally to the situation.
When our psychological buttons are pushed, we may habitually react with words or actions that escalate a tense interaction, and create more conflict and suffering for all involved.
But if instead, we make it a practice to pause for just a few seconds, take some deep, slow, relaxed breaths—we create the mental-emotional space required for a more clear-sighted, kind and equanimous response. This is true response-ability!
And it gives us the freedom to find a creative compromise, a mutually satisfying solution to the conflict/tension. It’s a small thing whose positive effects can be huge.
2. Share the Healing Power of a Genuine Smile
It might seem a bit strange to intentionally smile—but as it turns out, this simple gesture has all kinds of positive biochemical effects.
For instance: a gentle smile initiates the release of stress-reducing neuropeptides. It increases levels of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Serotonin functions as an anti-depressant. Endorphins are a natural pain reliever.
The bottom line is that smiling is genuinely medicinal! And when you smile, chances are good that the people around you will be more likely to smile … and all of you, together, will feel better. It’s a simple yet profound way of bringing joy and healing into your environment. Give it a try!
3. Express True Gratitude & Appreciation
Finding something to appreciate—and feel grateful for—is a wonderful way to lift our spirits. It also enhances our overall wellbeing, by improving our physical and psychological health.
Regardless of our unique circumstances, there are always things we can feel grateful for: a beautiful sunrise; a cup of fresh water; a warm place to sleep at night; healthy delicious food; the sound of our child giggling; the pleasure of a deep, slow breath.
It’s also wonderful to appreciate the people in our lives—and to let them know what, in particular, we appreciate about them. If we have benefited from someone else’s actions or inspiring presence, to express our gratitude—to say thank you!—is a simple and beautiful way to increase positive feelings all around.
4. Practice Random Acts of Kindness Daily
The sky is the limit here, in terms of practicing “random daily acts of kindness.” Eventually, this will come naturally and you will build a reputation for yourself as a kinder person. Practice is key.
Treat a co-worker to cup of tea/coffee. Maybe they will do the same for you in the future as a result! Simply try making friendly eye contact with the bank teller or holding a door open for a friend or stranger.
You get the idea… Make it your personal job to find new and creative ways to express kindness, consideration, gentleness and friendliness. It’s a small thing that can have profoundly positive effects.
Wishing you the best!