Have you thought about how nice it would be if we all made an effort to be kind and generous to each other?
Many people spend their time thinking about how to have more and receive more from others because they wrongly believe that this way, they will find happiness. But it has been proven that one of the best ways to achieve a life full of satisfaction and happiness is to give support and love to others.
Being kind is a strength of character that you can develop because it will allow you to build positive relationships, have more opportunities, and more meaning in your life.
Let’s take a look at these seven steps that will help you demonstrate kindness and generosity through your attitudes, words, and actions.
“Goodness begins by understanding that we are all facing our own battles.” — Charles Glassman
Although there are people who associate kindness to someone naive or weak, actuality, it’s not the case. Being kind and gentle is a social skill that requires courage, self-control, generosity, and strength of character.
Several scientific studies have shown that devoting resources to others instead of trying to accumulate more and more for oneself produces lasting well-being. Kindness to others is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in marriage. And many universities, including Harvard, are now taking kindness into account in their applications for admission.
Being kind is good for both you and the people around you. Recent studies point to something that has been intuitively known for generations: Giving and receiving kindness and goodness helps promote good health and general well-being.
Besides, being kind doesn’t have to cost money. You can simply give yourself, perhaps by offering to care for someone, giving a sincere compliment, or simply being polite and considerate of others.
Kindness produces a “ripple effect” that flows from one individual to another and spreads a lot of positive effects, reaching a large number of people. We just need to cultivate kindness in our communities by being generous, not only during particular seasons but every day of the year.
Practice kindness in your life by taking the following steps, and you will discover that your good actions can be contagious, and can lead you and those around you to greater fulfillment and satisfaction.
1. Practice gratitude and stay positive.
Gratitude is more than a feeling; it’s an act. Dozens of studies have shown that gratitude is beneficial for you because it changes your perspective almost immediately, and the rewards continue to grow as you practice it. Gratitude helps you feel more positive, improves your relationships with others, fosters compassion, and increases feelings of happiness.
Make an effort to recognize all the little positive things that happen during your day. Write them down in a journal, take inspiring pictures and write about them, or do anything that helps you recognize and remember these little things you are grateful for. For example, if your blueberry pancakes turned out to be perfect, if the traffic in your way to work was surprisingly light, or if your friend complimented you on your clothes, collect those little details in your gratitude journal!
As human beings, we tend to focus on the negative things and let the positive ones pass by. So when you notice something positive in your life, give it some attention and make it memorable. For example, if you see a beautiful garden with lots of flowers during your morning walk, stop for a moment and say, “This is a pleasant moment, and I want to remember how grateful I am for it.” Try to take a mental picture of the scene so you can remember those details later when you are going through a difficult time or some negative experience.
Having clean clothes to wear or a soft, comfortable bed to sleep can be little things to be thankful for. Not all the good things in life are obvious, so be aware of them. Thank people for what they do for you. From activities that someone in your home does, such as keeping the house clean or preparing food, to the attention you receive when you go shopping or eat breakfast at a restaurant.
Even though the cashier at the supermarket or the waitress in the restaurant may be in a bad mood, it is up to you to be grateful and to spread kindness to all the human beings with whom you interact. Think of it not as doing them a favor, but as doing it to make yourself feel great.
Being positive helps you be comfortable, even if you’re having a bad day. Also, a smile improves your outlook and makes people perceive you are confident and friendly.
2. Be kind to yourself first.
The reality is that we are usually our own worst critics, and we tend to be very negative about ourselves. Understanding this truth is essential because to be kind to others, we need to be careful of ourselves first.
Surround yourself with positive people who help you feel good. Give yourself time to process emotions and difficult situations. Avoid hurting yourself when you feel disappointment, regret, grief, or anger. Learn to laugh at yourself once in a while. Laugh at your silly mistakes, learn from them, and let them go.
Don’t compare your worst moments with the best of others, because that’s not a fair comparison. Appreciate the good that others achieve and let that inspire you instead of being jealous.
Keep in mind that making mistakes is normal. So, avoid judging yourself for your mistakes or your worst moments, and reflect on the learning you can get from them. If you have a bad habit that you want to change or have not yet reached your goals, be patient with yourself and remember that significant changes take time.
Being kind to yourself is one of those things that sounds easy but is very difficult in practice. But you can cultivate generosity by doing acts that allow you to appreciate, reflect, and grow. Growth, in any form, is never easy. It takes patience and persistence. And self-compassion is a consideration that we need more than once a day.
3. Act generously, be kind, and considerate of others.
Acting with generosity allows your brain to release almost fifty percent more oxytocin, which is the chemical that makes you feel good. This chemical, which we produce on special occasions, is also known to enhance creativity, the immune system, and the ability to solve problems. Do you realize how something as small as dedicating your time and attention to a conversation can stimulate your mood and give you and those around you a good feeling?
Sometimes we can get caught up in our own needs and desires and forget that other people around us can be hurt or offended by our words or actions. But, being considerate means taking the time to think about how others feel and putting yourself in the other person’s perspective, always seeking to implement the famous win-win.
Smiling and making eye contact is one of the simplest ways to spread goodness, and it’s free! Be generous and authentic with your smile. This simple gesture can brighten up your day and the day of the people around you.
Another way to be generous is to keep doors open for others to come in. Offer your help if you see someone who needs it, for example, an older person carrying a lot of items. If you see someone else competing for the same parking space, allow them to keep it. There is always room and time for everyone.
When driving your car, do so with courtesy. Remember that safety comes first. Use your turn signals when you are supposed to, and use the horn only when it’s necessary to alert someone. Keep enough distance between your car and the one in front of you. Try not to block any access with your vehicle, avoid abruptly changing lanes, and be considerate of others.
Good manners are essential in making people feel at ease. Treat others with respect, as well as, or even better than you would like to be treated. Use words like “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.” Avoid getting angry with the salespeople in the store or the waiter. If you need to complain, ask for the manager, and make the complaint clearly and calmly.
Being tactful is an essential part of showing consideration. When expressing your point of view, do your best to not offend the people around you. Learn to give feedback or criticism in a kind and thoughtful way, without causing any hurtful feelings. You can do this by objectively highlighting what was done right and what actions can be improved, without pointing out the person in a negative way.
4. Perform three acts of kindness every day.
“We can’t help everyone, but we can all help someone.” — Ronald Reagan
In a recent study, a group of participants was assigned to perform at least one act of kindness daily for one week, while their levels of happiness were measured before and after the seven days of kindness. The researchers found that being kind to ourselves or anyone else, even a stranger, and even actively observing the goodness around us stimulates happiness.
A kind act by a stranger can often have a more meaningful impact on your day than the kindness of close friends and family. Spread the goodness in the world by doing something good for someone you don’t know, without seeking recognition. Performing three acts of kindness can significantly enrich your life.
The most significant acts of kindness are those that are given for free because you care about someone else and want them to be happy. Goodness itself is your reward, so it will enhance your sense of well-being and happiness no matter how big or small it is the action you perform. So if you do a favor for a family member or friend, don’t say: “You owe me one.”
But what if you go further? What if you challenge yourself to be kind and gentle with a person who others may consider undesirable?
To be honest, maybe the last thing you want to give to an offensive person is your kindness. Usually, when someone makes rude comments or acts in a hurtful way toward us, revenge can be very tempting. However, there is no more complete satisfaction than being a great person.
So take a deep, calm breath. If the person has just said or done something offensive to you, it’s crucial to stay calm and avoid reacting. In the heat of the moment, it could be easy to say harsh words and respond with anger. Choose your words very carefully. Speak slowly and calmly. This attitude and behavior can lead to solutions and results instead of drama, argument, and tragedy.
Remember that you don’t have control over the words and actions of others, but you do have control over your own. By being kind to all people, no matter how undeserving they might be, you become a person with great self-control, integrity, and compassion.
The point is to break the cycle. Unfriendly people misbehave towards others, with the justification that others have been harmful to them. But if you give them some kindness that they don’t often receive, you can break this chain of events, and you can even make a big difference in they having a positive change over time.
And if you still don’t feel like being kind to a particular person, do it for your health. Being grumpy and rude affects your health – don’t let someone else have the power to make you sick! Anger can increase the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, happy feelings have been related to better immune function.
Just remember to be careful and use common sense if a stranger asks you for help on a desolate street or in an empty parking lot. In this case, it may be better to go to a populated area and warn the authorities that there is someone who needs help.
Take the time to identify and recognize the things you have in common with the people around you. Try to understand them and think:
Incorporate the smallest acts of kindness into your daily life and notice the positive results. The Butterfly effect in Chaos Theory states that a small event in one region of the world can have a significant impact in another distant place.
5. Be optimistic and offer words of encouragement.
Giving words of encouragement and support to others, even through the challenges, injustice, and cruelty you can experience in the world, can strengthen your sense of faith in humanity. And by being optimistic, you keep your sense of humor active, which helps you not to take yourself too seriously so that you can see life’s tough moments in good faith.
It’s not always easy to be optimistic, especially when you’ve had a horrible day. But with enough practice, anyone can cultivate optimism by focusing on the positive instead of the negative, thinking about happy future moments, and living a life that is filled with more joy than sadness.
Offering words of encouragement to a person at the right time can make a big difference. Choose a famous phrase or an uplifting verse. Try to say something hopeful and honest when you notice someone is down.
“Unexpected goodness is the most powerful, least expensive, and most underestimated agent of human change.” — Bob Kerrey
Being kind not only has a direct effect on others, but it also has a positive impact on you.
6. Remember that everyone is fighting a battle.
Everyone is going through one challenge or another, and sometimes, it is too easy for us to ignore this when we are angry or immersed in our own problems.
Even when you feel the worse, remember that other people are also experiencing uncertainty, pain, difficulties, sadness, disappointment, and loss. In no way does this belittle your feelings, but it does allow you to realize that people often react from their pain, instead of their reasoning. And goodness is the key to seeing beyond our negative emotions.
Before you commit an action that could negatively impact someone else, ask yourself a simple question: “Is it nice to do this?” If you can’t answer yes, take some time to breathe, calm down, and think about what might be a better response.
To develop better compassion for others, you must practice compassion for yourself and learn to stay calm when necessary. When someone lets you down, keep in mind that people fight silently for many reasons. Don’t be quick to get angry or hold a grudge. Think that the other person may have gone through something unexpected, and remember that we all make mistakes, and there might be some strong reasons for the person’s behavior.
Commit each day not to judge anyone, because you are not the only one having a hard time.
7. Develop the power of goodness.
Many people want to be discovered to become the next star in music or movies or to make a lot of money and be the next billionaire. They think that one of these options is the key to complete happiness. But even when some get a lot of money or things, they then miss their previous life because they underestimate the traps that fame, celebrity, and wealth bring with them when we don’t have strong values and principles.
The truth is, our planet doesn’t need any more superstars. Our planet is in desperate need of peace, volunteers, dream makers, and loving people. Our world needs people who are committed to their community, people with moral values, willing to fight for our civilization to become more prosperous, more humane, and more compassionate.
You can practice goodness through simple acts of kindness and avoiding harm to any other living being or the environment. Besides, being kind increases your happiness and slows down the aging process.
Remember that it’s not necessary to belittle yourself in front of others to be generous; you just have to practice generosity while showing integrity. In this way, you can be assertive and kind even when others are trying to take advantage of your goodness.
Although simple, the ability to be kind in itself is a powerful and comforting reward, which also stimulates our self-esteem.
Imagine how rewarding it would be for you to go to sleep every night with a smile of satisfaction, knowing that you contributed something positive to someone else’s life.
You can be the change you want to see in the world. All you have to do is smile, be positive, and strive to be considerate of others.
Plato was very right when he said, “Be kind because all the people you meet are fighting a tough battle.”
There are many ways to be good and many opportunities to perform acts of kindness. And although sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to be able to treat others with kindness, through constant practice, you can begin to see kindness and goodness as virtues of your character that are worth cultivating.
Within yourself, you’ll find the qualities you need to show courtesy, consideration, and love for others. Strive to be kind and gentle, one action at a time, one person at a time. In this way, you will give more meaning to your life, and you will be able to generate joy for yourself and the people around you; and thus, together, we will all be able to grow as human beings.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-heart-and-science-of-kindness-2019041816447 https://www.bustle.com/p/how-kindness-changes-your-brain-according-to-new-research-12079120 https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/03/27/how-happiness-affects-your-health/ https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-strategies-for-self-compassion/ https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/29-ways-to-carry-out-random-acts-of-kindness-every-day.html https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness
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