Kindness is a choice you make in your relationships - both with others and yourself.
It's one thing we all have the ability to share. It’s free, it feels great, and it’s within our control. So, why is it so difficult to be kind at times? We tend to only see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and surround ourselves with people who share our own experiences and tastes. Scientific studies, newspaper articles, religious texts, and self-help books have tried to help us become kinder people, but how often do we really put that advice into practice? Kindness improves your relationships, and in doing so, it can connect you to things outside of yourself. Sometimes the best step forward is by getting out of our own heads. What are your favourite ways to connect with friends? Let us know, and we'll add it here to help others. In the meantime, here's a 12-step plan. One action for each month of the year.
THE KINDNESS 12-STEP PLAN:
1. Make a point to smile at others....Does it bring a moment of happiness to their day?
2. Pick one day this month and do 5 kind things (anonymously). It might be walking your dog and picking up rubbish along the way. Or tidying your space without being asked.
3. Pick someone who is close to you and whom you appreciate. Do 3 things today to show and tell them they're very important to you.
4. Decide to be happy instead of right for the day, and let others have their way.
5. Helping out others – friends, neighbours etc. Ask "can I do anything for you?" If someone has young children, bring the parents some home-cooked food.
6. Volunteering in your community in some way.
7. Pay for coffee for the person in line behind you when you get one.
8. Let someone in front of you in line or in traffic.
9. Hold a door open for someone.
10. Smile more. Again.
11. Forgive someone else. Stop carrying that resentment around. Is it really helping you?
12. Forgive yourself. We all have times when we wish we'd handled things differently. Spend some time journaling about one experiences that you've not shared with others before and really see if you can open up about it.
Here you'll find essays and musings on applied mindfulness. What does this look like on a daily basis? How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? Join hundreds of others on the the mailing list (link in footer) to get these straight to your inbox.