Human connection satisfies a fundamental need to belong and is established by recognizing and valuing each other. Kindness fosters connection by creating a sense of acceptance and reduces feelings of isolation. A moment spent sending wishes of friendliness, concern, or support nurtures connection and builds an individual’s capacity for kindness. Social ties are maintained and strengthened as we help each other.
Practicing kindness towards self or others promotes happiness and confidence while simultaneously building character. Improving someone’s day through an unexpected kind gesture enhances both the giver and receiver’s mood. It also has unintended physiological benefits such as boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure, and lowering stress and anxiety. Kindness does not have to be grand or expensive, as the smallest gestures often have the greatest impact. For example, a moment of support during a time of need, words of encouragement, or a simple smile can make a world of difference.
Perspective is often limited by experiences and, as a result, people don’t always see eye-to-eye. Extending simple gestures of kindness bridges this gap, allowing connections to form. Recognizing that someone may be having a bad day provides a sense of empathy and makes a moment of kindness more meaningful. View others in a positive light to make it easier to be kind.
Kindness is both a mindset and a habit. It takes effort to actively cultivate this behavior but once it has been adopted, opportunities to apply it can appear everywhere. A habit of kindness can be acquired through diligent daily practice and each small act will add up to a lot of good.
It is common to experience obstacles to kindness such as fear, distraction, anticipation, or exhaustion. Fear exposes itself in multiple ways; fear of drawing attention or causing embarrassment, fear of having an act of kindness rejected or fear of doing something wrong. Attempt to overcome those feelings by knowing that being kind is never wrong. Wandering thoughts and countless forces demanding attention can lead to distraction. Many miss the opportunity to serve as they rush to complete their next to-do item. Focus on living in the present to avoid these kindness obstacles. Insufficient sleep or inadequate mental rest often leaves people running on their last reserves. Prevent the obstacle of exhaustion by making time for self-care and relaxation.
Reconnect by creating a habit of kindness. Improve connections with self and others by practicing the following activities:
Connect to Yourself
- Schedule time for self-care, meditation, and hobbies
- Savor your morning tea or coffee
- Listen to your favorite type of music during a commute
Connect to Neighbors
- Wheel their trash bins out for them
- Rake their leaves or shovel snow
- Drop off a treat
Connect to Coworkers
- Offer to take a work-related project off their hands
- Show genuine interest in their lives outside of work
- Leave a note of encouragement on their desk
Connect to Family & Friends
- Deliver a small gift for no reason
- Offer to babysit for free
- Write a note of gratitude
Connect to Your Community
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood
- Put coins in an expired parking meter
- Be kind to your restaurant server and leave a generous tip