Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others or yourself, motivated by genuine warm feelings.
Evidence shows that helping others can also benefit our own mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness. It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation. It helps keep things in perspective. And it helps to make our world a happier place to live in.
There are so many ways to help others as part of our everyday lives. Good deeds needn’t take much time or cost any money.
Small changes can make a big difference.
This guide gives you tips on how to bring kindness into your life. We will look in more detail at:
- Doing something for a good cause
- Acts of kindness
Not sure where to start? The Mental Health Foundation put together some suggestions to help you out…
At home and in your community
- Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with
- Send flowers to a friend, out of the blue
- Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
- Ring someone who is on their own, or video call them
- Send someone a handwritten thank you note
- Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them
- Help with household chores
- Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour
- Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time
- Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are – whether that’s face-to-face, or virtually if you are working from home
- Offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with videoconferencing or new software that you have already used
- Set up a virtual coffee/lunch club – with your regular colleagues and with new ones
- Have a conversation with a colleague you don’t normally talk to
- Get to know a new member of staff – it is hard to join a new workplace under these restrictions
- Lend your ear – listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
- Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
- Praise a colleague for something they have done well
On social media
- Take time to reach out online to people you haven’t seen for a while
- Write something nice or encouraging on a post you appreciate
- Acknowledge and validate someone’s story – if they are having a difficult time you don’t have to have all the answers, sometimes a like or a brief ‘I’m sorry to hear this, is there something I can do?’ is enough to make them feel heard
- Think about what you share – look at the source of the post, and the tone. If it isn’t kind, think twice. If something could upset others and you feel you need to post it, use a trigger or content warning
- Think about your comments and replies. Try not to say nasty things, or pile on where somebody questions another person’s actions