“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and the most underrated agent of human change.” -Bob Kerrey
Can you think of the last time someone showed kindness to you or others? Did someone perform an act of kindness? Did someone say something kind? Did you acknowledge another’s act of kindness? Now self-reflect on the last time you showed kindness to others and to yourself through an act or words.
When you think of these self-reflection moments, how do you feel? How does your body respond? What is your initial physical, psychological, and spiritual response?
Acts of Kindness improve an individual’s psychological, physical, and spiritual wellness – both
the giver and the receiver. When we show love to others, we show love to ourselves.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,
a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest
compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which
have the potential to turn a life around.”
- Leo Buscaglia
10 Ways to Show Acts of Kindness:
- Buy a random person’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, etc. – the person behind you in the line
- Be a friend to a lonely neighbor. I.e., take them dinner, cut their grass, blow off their driveway
- Be a good listener. Listening intentionally can be one of the greatest gifts we can give.
- Give a genuine and authentic compliment. Look the person in the eye and give praise or a compliment. Give without expecting anything in return.
- Leave random notes sharing kindness—I.e., on desks, in your child’s book bags, and in public restrooms.
- Check in with a widow/widower, single parent, a spouse whose partner is deployed, or senior.
- Donate a gift and/or your time to a foster child (organization or group home).
- Participate in a blood drive.
- Say something positive about yourself – kindness is not just about giving to others but also about giving to ourselves.
- Volunteer in a classroom or by helping kids/teens. Be a mentor or role model to a child or teen.
Just imagine a world where we all showed kindness to one another. What would be different? Showing acts of kindness is a powerful catalyst to change. There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. ALL acts of kindness are important. Robin Williams said, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” We have seen over and over again how true this quote is – individuals who appear happy, strong, and successful can struggle with mental illness, and experience trauma and/or tragedy, grief/loss, and/or self-doubt.
There is a correlation between showing kindness and happiness. Individuals can increase happiness and improve their mental health by showing kindness.
The following was written by Clinical Therapist, Leah McMillan:
Happy people don’t hurt.
Happy people don’t abuse.
Happy people don’t ridicule.
Happy people don’t judge.
Happy people don’t gossip.
Happy people don’t discriminate.
Happy people don’t belittle.
Happy people don’t commit violence.
Happy people don’t hate.
Happy people love.
Happy people care.
Happy people encourage.
Happy people inspire.
Happy people accept.
Happy people embrace.
Happy people bring comfort & peace.
Happy people empower.
Showing kindness will not only change the individual who facilitates the act but others; it is a ripple effect that fosters love, respect, acceptance, and peace. Truly one act of kindness can change the world, one life at a time.
Written by: Leah McMillan, DPA, LMFT, EMDR-T, CFRC (Founder/Owner/Clinical Therapist, EnSpire Counseling & Wellness)