Studies show that kindness is one of the keys to happiness and is also the most important factor in a long-lasting marriage and friendship. When you think of someone being very kind, you might think of a very sweet lady with a heart of gold. But being kind does not need to be a thing that only certain people do. In fact, most of you might have shown some acts of kindness to the people you love without realizing it. However, you can also be kind to people you don’t know and that will still make you happy regardless.
So here you go…
I’d like to invite you to go on a 30 day kindness challenge with me - showing acts of kindness from little things to bigger things, not just to the people we love, but also to the people we don’t know - because being kind without expecting anything in return “makes us happy”.
And in order to adopt the habit, attitude, and mindset of “being kind”, we need to do this for at least 30 days. I have come up with a list of things that we could do on a daily basis - they are all very small and cost us very little or nothing.
1. Smile more
Smile - a free and simple act that anyone can do and can bright up anyone’s day. Our world has become so busy that if you smile for no reason, people think you’re crazy. But smile has been one of my best weapons. I have used smile to soften the heart of enemies. I have used smile to remove social awkwardness. I have used smile to get away with things. I have used smile to light up someone’s mood. I have used smile to make someone feel special. I have used smile to make myself happy.
First simple act of kindness - smile. Smile at the barista who serves you coffee. Smile at the person next to you in line. Smile at a co-worker in the elevator. Smile at the security guard at the door. Smile at a cleaner and thank her/him for the excellent cleaning. Smile at yourself in the mirror, thinking to yourself you will have a beautiful day. Smile as much as you can because when you smile, you automatically have a clear mind and feel positive.
You might be surprised at how many smiles you get back. It is infectious!
2. Share your snacks
It might sound like a cliche act of kindness but little things like this dramatically increases the good vibes people have about you. Try sharing your snacks with other people. Buy a big pack of chips or fruits and offer them to the people you work with. Not only will this make people think you’re sweet, but it will also make you happy.
3. Offer your seat to a senior, a kid, or simply anyone
Commuting can be a pain but it would be even more of a pain to someone not as fit as you. Try offering someone a seat and choose to stand up instead. Think of standing up as a way to exercise your core, legs, and arms. Receiving a Thank You in the morning is also a beautiful way to start your morning.
4. Be friendly
Sometimes we feel like saying hi to a stranger is a flirtatious act. Sometimes we are scared that being friendly to strangers we will receive an awkward smile and eye contact in return. We live in a world where people are too scared to be friendly because your friendliness can be unwelcome. We sometimes act unfriendly because it is cool. But try adopting the habit of being friendly and you will be reciprocated with friendliness. The same goes to love - a man can only love a woman when he senses that she opens her heart to receive love and that she can give love back in return, and vice versa.
5. Give some tips
In the US, giving tips is an etiquette. However, in many countries including Australia, giving tips is not what most people do on a daily basis - maybe when you have dinner at a very nice restaurant.
Try giving tips even at the burger joint down the road or at the coffee shop near your work. A smile and a Thank You on the face of the person who serves you can make you a little bit happier even just for a moment.
6. Use environmentally friendly products
This can be having a fair-trade coffee, using an recycled bag and paper, and washing your clothes with eco-friendly detergent. Knowing that you are one of the very few people in this world to care about the environment and the earth should make you feel proud and happy.
7. Drive with kindness
We all seem to be in a rush to get to a place. We get upset with the traffic. We get annoyed with slow drivers in front of us. We get angry at cars that keep changing lanes. Driving is actually a great test that you can use to test and improve yourself as the situation on the road is inevitable. You can teach yourself to be calm, patient, and resilient - to not get angry at other cars and to not get frustrated with the traffic. You can learn to be kind and giving by giving way to other cars. Practicing this over and over, you will notice that you have become more calm and feel more peaceful inside.
8. Lend someone a good book
Book is one of the best investments. A good book is not just a great friend but also a great source of wisdom. Lending someone a good book that you have read and think it would benefit the person is a beautiful act of kindness that is not done often enough.
I have once improved my close friend’s life when we first became friends by giving him design magazines he needed to read to get inspired and motivated (he’s a communication design major). He used to play computer games in his free time. But when I introduced him to those design magazines, he admitted that he found joy in reading them and felt more motivated and inspired. He now reads design magazines in his free time and ditched the computer games for good.
You never know whose life you will improve. Lend someone a good book. Or even better, buy someone a good book!
9. Help animals
Whether the animal is injured or hungry, you can help by giving them food and treat them with care. You can give bread to the birds in the park and the fish in the pond. You can donate some money to organizations that help animals and help them spread the words about their causes. In some Buddhist countries, you can go to the slaughterhouse or the meat works and donate some money to set the cows free so they won’t get killed.
Animals are just like us. They have feelings. They are here to make the world a more beautiful place. They are here to make up a part of the nature. Although most of us eat meat, we can still help other animals by being kind to them.
10. Help children in need
Most of us are very blessed to be standing here today. But not everyone was born into a warm, loving and supportive family. By being grateful and thankful for what you have in your life, you can be kind to other kids who don’t have the opportunities that you do or once did.
You can help the children in need especially those in the poor countries by donating money to help get fed and get the education they need. You can even go an extra mile by volunteering to build schools or teach these children English or a skill like computer, math, or science.
The emotional reward and memory that you get from this act of kindness last for a lifetime.
11. Donate your blood
Besides feeling good that we can help other human beings, according to American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donations help keep the levels of iron in the body in check, especially in males. This has shown to reduce heart disease as excessive iron build up can result in excessive oxidative damage which is the major culprit implicated in accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes etc.
A monk once said, “It’s okay if you cannot be generous with your money, you can also be generous with your time.”
Most of the time we neglect the people around us and what they’re going through. Everyone keeps their business to themselves as they don’t want to annoy other people. But sometimes if we look around, we will find that a friend might be going through a hard time during a breakup. Another friend might be having a family or a work drama. Whatever it may be, as much as we hate listening to people whining, it’d be nice to offer to genuinely listen. Sometimes what a person in distress needs is a pair of good ears and a supportive pad on the shoulder or a hug.
13. Help someone move, pack, or set up a shop
In a busy society, we seem to calculate every waking hour into money. When in fact, there is one thing that money cannot buy - not a genuine, long-lasting one anyway - that is “friendship”.
Helping a friend move, pack, or set up a shop or exhibition when it’s not much of a hassle to you is a great way to strengthen friendship. The friend might feel like they owe you a big favor. But what you get from helping someone is feeling good and proud that you have done something nice for the day.
14. Teach others kindness
Kindness is what makes the world a better place. Kindness is what keeps hungry kids in Africa alive and help victims of natural disasters survive. Teaching other people kindness is multiplying love in this world. Teach your kids to be kind since they’re young so that it becomes a part of their character. Inspire your friends to be kind. Initiate a group activity that shows an act of kindness. Influence them. Lead by examples and show your friends that it feels great to be kind. Over and over, even the selfish friends will surrender to this beautiful act because of the effect it has on the kind spirit and the people around them.
15. Show affection
Hugging is a common greeting act in a lot of cultures. But even though it might seem like everyone is doing it, the effect it has on both the giver and the receiver is understated.
I am originally from a country where hugging is not a common greeting act. However, I have lived in Australia long enough that every time I see my friends and family back at home, I just want to give them a hug. The effect it has on people is tremendous. Because Thai people are not used to getting hugged all the time, they can feel the depth and warmth every time they hug and get hugged.