Did you know that kindness and doing kind acts can help our wellbeing and mental health?
The science boffins have done experiments to prove it works!
Being kind and giving to others is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and a bit of superpower as well!
There are so many ways to be kind as part of our everyday lives. Kindness needn’t take much time or cost any money.
Small acts like a smile or a compliment or holding a door open for someone can make a big difference in their day.
Here's a story about how a small act can make a difference:
The Starfish Story
Early one fine Cornish morning, a woman was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the woman noticed a boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the woman could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up something from the sand and throw it into the sea.
The boy came closer still and the woman called out, ”Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The storm has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The woman replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
(based on The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley)
Ideas for simple acts of kindness
- Smile at someone when you are out and about
- Share something you are good at. you could show someone how to get better a game you are really good at.
- Send a 'happiness card' or a silly gif to someone you haven't seen for a while
- Check in with, or listen, to a friend
- Hold a door open for someone you don't know
- Try to do three kind acts each day. Remember they don't have to be big!
- Be kind to the planet. Join a beach clean or change one thing you do for a greener alternative.
- Include someone in a game or activity
- Let someone go first in a queue
- Paint, rocks with positive or inspiring messages and leave for others to find
- Tell someone a fun fact or your favourite joke
- And don't forget... ...Be Kind to Yourself
Don't forget to be kind to yourself!
It’s important to be kind to yourself as well. Take Time for You so you can relax and do the things you enjoy.
Check out the self-care ideas in our wellbeing toolkit.
Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else is feeling or to understand the situation they are in. It is the ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” and to understand the way a situation might make them feel.
Empathy is different from sympathy. Empathy is walking a mile in someone else's shoes; sympathy is feeling sorry that their feet hurt.
Empathy can be difficult. It is often difficult to see another person's point of view, especially when out own own emotions are triggered and get into the way of our thinking skills. Empathy is something that is linked to kindness and helping others. Have a look at these ideas about helping a friend.
Showing gratitude (being thankful) is a good way of staying positive; coping with stress and self-care. It is not just about saying thank you (to your aunty for hand-knitted socks for Christmas, again"!). It is taking a moment to look for things each day that we can feel good about.
3 Good Things
At the end of each day, think about three good things that happened.
They don't have to be big or important things.
Why do you feel thankful for those things?
You could write them down in a small notebook or on slips of paper and keep them in a self-care box or a gratitude jar.
It's good to go back sometimes and look at what you've written. It can be a boost when you are feeling down.