Kindness is part of the Warrior code that I teach to students as part of my ‘Wellbeing Warrior’ workshops through ‘Skills with Frills’. So I’ve been able to explore this and consider ways that we might show kindness towards others. It’s actually great fun for adults, as well as children, coming up with new inventive and creative ways to surprise those you love, as well as people you don’t know so well, with little gems of kindness here are there.
Here’s ten random acts of kindness that will make someone (and you) feel awesome:
1. Sneak a chocolate bar or a treat into someone’s bag. This is an idea from ‘Do Nice. Be Kind. Spread Happy,’ by Bernadette Russell. She calls it ‘reverse robbery’ and suggests also leaving a note that says, “Ha! You’ve been reverse robbed.” The kids go crazy for this one, but I think it works just as well for adults!
2. Buy something small for a stranger. This might be a cuppa for a homeless person; a bunch of flowers for the woman selling you them; a bacon sarnie for someone who looks like they need one. This small act could make all the difference to someone’s day.
3. Give genuine complements. This one is so easy. And free. If you’re using the power of focus properly, and noticing good things about people around you, then it’ll be incredibly easy to come up with some kind, genuine things to say about others. Many people aren’t good at accepting complements – they’ll brush them aside or make jokes (myself included); but say them anyway. They count.
4. Send someone a card out of the blue. This doesn’t need for any other occasion or reason, other than showing someone that you love them, appreciate them, miss them… Even better if you can get ‘crafty’ and make a DIY card!
5. Leave a secret gift somewhere for a stranger. Just imagine how you’d feel if you found £5 in a library book, with a note telling them to enjoy the money and spend it on something nice. Seriously good karma attached to this one.
6. Send a ‘hug’ in the post. This is another one from Bernadette Russell, and yes I know this is more child-friendly, but as a ‘big kid’ myself I just love it. You lay down on a big sheet of paper – wrapping paper will work – and get someone to draw around your arms. Send it to a friend you rarely see, with a note explaining that it’s a ‘hug in the post.’
7. Ask people questions. Another one that’s free and easy. Plus, it’s a great way for you to combat social anxiety. Showing genuine interest in people can make such a difference to how they experience a social situation or their overall mood on any given day. Exploring who people are; finding out about their lives, experiences, opinions; will greatly amplify both yours and their enjoyment of a conversation. Just make sure you actually listen… otherwise it might have the opposite effect.
8. Give to charity. Clear out the spare room and give your things to someone who needs them. If you’re wanting to donate, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and do a little research into how charities spend their money. There are so many charities nowadays that giving to them can feel overwhelming. This site will support you as you give to charity, safe in the knowledge that your money will actually go towards the cause you wish to support.
9. Talk to strangers. While this is the opposite of what I tell the kids at school, for adults (still advised to use common sense and judgement!) striking up a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop can be utterly heart-warming. We’ve lost the art of talking to strangers, mostly because many of us are staring at a screen whenever we’re alone. And though making a habit of this might get you some strange looks, having a natter to the person at the checkout; across from you at the cafe; next to you in the waiting room; might just improve both of your days.
10. Smile! I’ve saved the best until last. Free, easy and scientifically proven to increase your own happy chemicals, smiling is the greatest of all the random acts of kindness. Bernadette Russell encourages children to go on a secret ‘smile mission’, even competing with a friend, to see how many people they can smile at in one day. They love it! Why not take a leaf out of their book, and partake in your own secret smile mission.
Were you sneaky enough to pull of the ‘reverse robbery’ or did you end up being chased by security guards who suspected this was just straightforward robbery?! If you’ve tried any of these, or have extra ideas to throw in, I’d love to hear them!