Happiness starts with Kindness! Better mental health in August.

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You may recognise the expression “it is better to give than receive”,  but did you know this is backed up by research?  

People who are kind and compassionate see clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. They may even live longer. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.

We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses – not to mention the current coronavirus pandemic. This can see kindness pushed to one side, in favour of what is urgent or trending now.  

We want to see a world where kindness is built into business decisions, government policy and official systems. However, we can start by individual commitment to showing kindness in our words and our actions. 

You might want to do something for someone else or take note if you experience an act of kindness.  

Not sure where to start?   

We’ve 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  

At work  

  • 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  

In public places  

  • Follow the rules on social isolation – but don’t make negative assumptions about others  
  • Wish a passer-by a good morning or afternoon from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)  
  • Be a considerate cyclist/driver  
  • Pick up some rubbish lying around in the street  
  • Smile and say hello to people you may pass every day, but have never spoken to before from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)  

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   

Evidence shows that being kind really does improve your wellbeing. What’s more, the more you do for others, the more they are likely to do for you!

The information for this blog article was taken from the Mental Health Organisation. Please see their website for further information;

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

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