Being a human can be a difficult and lonely experience at times. We all endure tragedies, setbacks, sadness, or being too busy to appreciate life. I get it, because I'm a struggling human, too.
Have you ever noticed that those dreadful never-ending days are the ones without much kindness? Everything seems to be going wrong, and everyone is inconsiderate on those days.
Kindness isn't a one-way street. Often, it comes as a karmic result of our spreading generosity first . As it turns out, being kind can transform and heal the crappiest of circumstances.
Giving hugs and smiles, listening to a friend's problems, and offering a helping hand are very common and easy ways to provide a spark of humanity to anyone's day. But here are 12 other ways to invite more kindness into your day:
1. Write a note or thank-you card for someone that has helped you.
We often don't fully appreciate the wonderful things others have done for us. No one has to do anything for anyone — we do it because we care. Show the people in your life how much they mean to you by giving them written praise. Bonus points if you send one card in the mail each day for one week to different people.
2. Be extra friendly to folks who work in customer service.
These people are often taken advantage of, as if they are just robots working for us. We don't take enough time to be friendly to the person who stands at a register 6 to 8 hours out of their day helping us purchase the items we need. Remember, just because they're compensated for helping us doesn't mean that they aren't humans who need kindness too!
3. Put your cellphone away.
Wasting time messing around on your cellphone tells the world around you that you don't care. Cellphones wreck more relationships than they build. It's rare that whatever is going on with your cellphone is more important than the person in your company.
4. Speak only positive words about people (even if you want to say something nasty).
Your words reflect more on who you are than who you are speaking about. If you have nasty and mean things to say about someone in your life, it only makes you look bad and doesn't spread kindness in the least bit. Reconsider your judgments about others.
5. When a friend confides in you, ask questions.
Because your friend trusts you as a confidant, they want to know that you are concerned in what they have to say. Asking questions about their situation proves that you are interested. This is not the time to offer suggestions unless they clearly ask you for help. Otherwise, listen and ask.
6. If you work, thank your supervisor for your employment.
Chances are good that your supervisor hired you because she saw something in you that added value to the company. She gave you a chance to earn a living and provide for you and your family. Even if you don't enjoy your current job, expressing gratitude to the one who provided the opportunity for you will improve your work environment at least a fraction.
7. Be a responsible and friendly driver in traffic, especially during rush hour.
If you live in a big city, traffic is often bumper-to-bumper, and it feels like you'll never arrive at your destination. This circumstance already creates anger and hostility in many drivers, so why add to it by being the a-hole who won't allow people to merge in front of you? Or maybe you're the lane jumper who thinks you're going to get home faster by cutting people off left and right? Do the responsible thing and cooperate. Car accidents are no fun.
8. Walk your dog (if you have one).
Nonhuman animals need attention and care too. Taking a stroll with man's best friend is a good way to get in exercise, absorb nature, and be kind to your furry buddy who loves to be with you.
9. Become a volunteer at your church, school, workplace, or elsewhere.
We can't get paid for everything we do in life — bummer. But we shouldn't only do something just because we will receive a monetary benefit. Do it because it lifts the burden temporarily off someone else's shoulders. Do it because you find purpose in it. Do it because it's something you know you can do, and it makes you feel good.
10. Donate old belongings to charity or a friend in need.
Most of us have far more material possessions than we know what to do with. We may have an attic, basement, spare bedroom, or rental units packed with junk, while there are so many people with nearly nothing. If you have extra items that you aren't using, ask yourself why you're hoarding the possessions. Letting go of possessions can be a freeing and healing kindness for you too.
11. Close your eyes and take 5-10 deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed.
Calm down and refocus on what is really important right now. This is a type of kindness for you and the people around you. Tame any crazy, out-of-control feelings with 10 deep breaths, then approach your task or the person you need to speak with in a gentler manner.
12. Share your experience.
Let others know that they aren't alone in what they're experiencing. Be vulnerable and humble enough to share what you've been through in your life. You never know how much it may inspire and help someone else heal.