the need to Spreading goodwill is more important than ever. After facing a global pandemic for more than two years, followed by the horrific war in Ukraine, we can all benefit from the support that helping others brings. Whether you’re donating to help those halfway across the world or discreetly paying for groceries for a cash-strapped shopper at a nearby store, small gestures can affect both the giver and the recipient.
While a study was published in Health Psychology It is suggested that spending money on others lowers blood pressure, and opening your wallet is not the only way to engage in good deeds. But figuring out how to make the best use of your time, resources, and talent to help others can be challenging. Here are ways to increase your kindness quotient and find organizations that can benefit from streaming support.
Learn different ways to show kindness
There is no one-size-fits-all path to altruism. Brenda Knight, publisher and author Random Acts of Kindnessdivides these actions into random, intentional and practical.
- random actsThey are the gestures we hear about most often—paying the person behind you in line or putting money at an expired counter before someone gets a ticket. Websites like Random Acts of Kindness and blog posts with ideas for adults and children can start looking for kindness.
- intentional actions It is when companies or individuals donate all or part of the proceeds to specific causes. “There are so many needs in the world that you should think carefully about finding a cause that aligns with your affinity,” Knight says. As a writer and publisher, she associates her intentionally kind acts with books.
- practical verbs Include serving food at a homeless shelter or volunteering to feed animals at a non-killable pet shelter. Sites like VolunteerMatch, JustServe, and Engage list volunteer openings in your area.
kindness is good for you
Studies, including one published in American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, suggests that kindness and care can reduce stress. Tara Cousino, a working psychologist at Harvard University’s Counseling and Mental Health Service, and author of kindness treatmentAnd Realize that volunteering takes effort. It takes you outside of your comfort zone, but is good for your mental health. “You get more out of the giving than the person you’re giving away does, and that’s a relief,” she says.
Kindness can also reduce pain, anxiety, and depression. Activities such as offering to clean up trash from the schoolyard or walking a sick neighbor’s dog can make you feel better about yourself and force you to deal with those outside your friendship bubble. “The act of helping others is an easy recipe,” Cousino says. “Research shows that when you volunteer for one to two hours per week, over time, you engage in that activity.” This stimulates an increase in positive emotions.
Make kindness a part of your screen time routine
says Houston Craft, co-founder of Character Strong and author of deep kindness. He takes a few steps to help him become kinder.
The first is to send a “This reminds me of you” message. Once a day, he taps Timehop to find photos he took that day, say four years ago. The app collects old posts and photos from your gallery, Google Photos, Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After Kraft finds a memory he wants to share, he sends the photo with a note that reads, “This was special or important to me” or “I’m grateful for this because (insert reason)”. You can share the memory on the many social media services available on your mobile device, email it or send a text message.
Additionally, he interacts on social media by practicing mindful scrolling. After every five posts, he leaves a comment or gives instructions on how to support someone. “I’m taking a bad habit and rephrasing it to include something good,” he says.
You have more to offer than you think
Before you dismiss your skills as highly specialized or worthless, on the other hand, consider a few factors. A simple task like checking email can be a daunting task. Sharing your experience with an Elder Helpers Senior gives you the opportunity to interact with others. Or, through Catchafire, you can virtually volunteer to help a non-profit organization. Sharing skills that you consider exemplary can be invaluable to others.
Upgrading others doesn’t take much time
Kraft suggests making kindness more manageable by taking a daily approach and doing five minutes of kindness. Adjusting the timer can take the stress out of this short task.
The goal is to show your appreciation and move on. You could write, “I was just thinking of you,” or “These are the reasons I’ve been thinking about how you’ve been an inspiration in my life.” BeKind is an app that reminds you to do something nice and shares ideas that inspire you. As with any skill, the more messages you send, the easier it will be to compose it.
Share the act of generosity
Cousineau encourages amplifying positivity because so much of our attention—an artifact of the way our minds are designed—focuses on negativity. “We have something in our attention network that scientists call the negativity bias,” she says. “We are biased by nature to focus on things that are potentially uncertain, dangerous and unsafe.” She recommends pausing and focusing our attention on things that are going well. Sharing a good deed can fill this need.
Although the inclination may be to keep your good deed to yourself, post about it. If you swept away a neighbor’s papers or left pizza at the local fire station, announce it to others. By publicly revealing your positive efforts, someone else will likely remember what you did and might follow suit. Instead of showing off, you are modeling a behavior that others might not think of or might be afraid to pursue. Nobly: Acts of Kindness is an app that makes it easy to share acts of kindness that can inspire selflessness.
Whether you’re taking a friend to a doctor’s appointment or asking the cashier how they’re doing, a gesture of any size can change your day and someone else’s. So the next time you pull out your phone, send a quick text to a family member you saw last week, or share a photo with a friend you haven’t called in years. “Sometimes it’s that three-minute message that you send to someone you love, someone you know is suffering,” Kraft says. “Sometimes these are the most productive and impactful minutes of your day.”