We need to double down on kindness.
Choosing kindness for yourself, others and the planet is good for the health and wellness of all. We are living in extraordinary times with a pandemic that is escalating around the world and impacting our medical and economic systems. We tense as we hear daily news and work to keep ourselves and others safe. It is easy to get lost in anxiety. We have always needed kindness but even more so now. We need to double down on kindness. With so much negativity, we all need to increase positive messages to keep our balance. Kindness is the simplest thing you can do to make a difference for yourself, others, and the planet.
All people respond positively to kindness. Think about a time when someone said something kind to you. In response, something inside lights up. Remarkably, this is true when a kind word or gesture comes from someone you know or a stranger. Even random acts of kindness have a positive impact. Kindness is a gentle and powerful way to lift someone up. When someone is kind to you, it makes you feel good. You want to pass it on. Kindness is contagious and it gives joy to both the giver and the receiver.
Be Kind to Yourself
Start with being your own best friend and giving yourself positive messages and taking kind actions. They do not need to be big, but they have a big impact. This is how you build your strength and it enables you to be kind to others. One way to get started is to create a list of the things that you like. Focus on small things that bring a smile to your face or give you a moment to relax. For example, I love my morning tea and a cappuccino in the afternoon. I have made it a habit to sit a few minutes and relax while sipping my hot drink. They are the little things that help me get out of my head and enjoy a moment. This is only one example, but there are many little things that I try to do each day. And on the days that I do not have treat moments, I am grumpy. So start your list of ideas including treats, people you can laugh with, movement, eating healthy, meditation, reading, listening to music, and so on. Once you have your list, make it a habit to be kind to yourself several times a day.
Be Kind to Others
The best thing you can do for someone else is to say “how are you doing?” and then listen. They are almost magical words – “how are you doing?”. When someone asks you this in kindness, you relax and feel cared for. As people we are social and it feels so good to have someone else see you and care about how you are doing. Your family, friends, and strangers can all benefit from kindness. When it comes to family it is easy to get stuck in routines, so shake it up with a little surprise kindness.
In The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell, there is a whole section on how to be kind to the people you love the most. The top ten list includes treating them to breakfast in bed, leaving them notes that they will find later in the day, and making them their favorite food. When it comes to strangers it can be more difficult. We know that being kind to others that you do not know is putting yourself out there. You smile but you may not get one in return. It is a risk but well worth it. Because even if you do not see it, it does make a difference. You have the power to make a difference. There are so many ways to be kind. For example, it can be a smile, holding a door open, a thoughtful note, thanking someone, being a good listener, treating someone to coffee or tea. There is even an organization, Random Acts of Kindness Organization (randomactsofkindness.org) with materials and ideas. So select some kind of activities that suit you and share them with the world. It will make you happier and give joy to someone else.
Be Kind to the Planet
Humans and our planet are intimately linked. We need to be able to make choices that benefit the planet and all life. One of the best ways to be kind is to be more environmentally aware. Stepping back and thinking about actions and how to reduce your footprint. There are many ways to do this and you will hear much more about this in 2020 from One Planet Life. To get started, look to be more thoughtful in shopping. Consider if you need new or can buy used. Buy more durable goods and buy from companies that are making changes to reduce their footprint. There are B-corporations that are dedicated to environmental sustainability. For example, Patagonia has wonderful products and is deeply focused on the community and causing no harm to the environment. Another example is Looptworks, a business that re-purposes and epicycles abandoned, pre-consumer, and post-consumer materials into limited edition products. Reduce your water usage to save on this most precious resource. Reduce the use of single-use plastic that is clogging up our waterways. Plant a tree in your area or support our local parks, wetlands, and local land. Or donate to an organization such as One Tree Planted Organization (onetreeplanted.org).
It’s time to get started by identifying your kindness list. Make sure you start with actions for yourself and then move on to others and the planet. Here is a Little Kindness Tracker. It is a simple tracking form that can help you give this aspect of life more attention. Get better balance in your day with kindness acts to increase your positivity. Think about it as your kindness journal. Let yourself feel good about the little acts of kindness by jotting them down. Then once a week, take a look and reflect on the happiness you are creating through kindness.
Kindness is the easiest way to make the world better! Choose kindness with us!