In a world where many people feel disconnected and spend more time with technology than other peoples, doing an act of kindness is a way to connect with the people around you or even complete strangers. Studies have shown that putting the well being of others before our own without expecting anything in return stimulates the reward centers of the brain. Those “feel good chemicals” flood our system, and activities like volunteering, for example, have been shown to minimize stress and improve depression.
Kindness is most beneficial as a practice. We may get a positive boost from these actions, but that feeling does not sustain itself, which is why it is important to engage in the practice of acts of kindness. Here are some ideas for small acts of kindness that you can do today and every day:
- Listen. One of the most powerful acts of kindness you can do is listening to others. Listen to a loved one’s story, even if you’ve heard it a hundred times. Let your friend vent about their work day. You don’t have to have a solution to their problem, but just the act of caring enough about the other person to truly listen, no phones or distractions, can have a large impact.
- Walk your neighbor’s dog. Maybe you have an elderly person in your neighborhood who cannot get out and walk their dog on a regular schedule. Offer to take Fido for their walk and after, let them know how much you enjoyed the excuse for a walk.
- Compliment a co-worker on a job well done. We can sometimes get stuck in a scarcity mindset where we believe that if someone else succeeds, there won’t be enough opportunities left for us. Let that go. Instead, celebrate other people’s victories just as you would your own and notice how just because someone else is achieving success, that doesn’t mean there is less for you.
- Let someone line jump. If you’re standing in line at the grocery store, consider letting the person behind you get in front of you. Maybe it’s a mom with a young child that’s getting restless. Maybe it’s someone who has just one item. Or maybe it’s someone with a full cart and no kids, but you’d just like to brighten their day.
- Bring a friend a cup of coffee (or tea). A small thing, but the act of knowing a friend’s preferred coffee shop beverage and grabbing one for them without them asking, can make a friend feel seen and connected.
- Put some extra coins in the parking meter. Grab some extra quarters from your car console and add some time to the meter’s around you. Anyone who has ever pulled into a meter and found that there was still time left understands that spark of joy that comes from realizing that you don’t have to hunt for spare change to park.
- Write a thank you note. Chances are, you’ve received some acts of kindness yourself. Send a handwritten thank you note to those who have treated you kindly in the past. Let them know that you remember their kind act and that it had an impact on you.
Journey Home East for Young Women
Journey Home East specializes in serving young women who have successfully completed a residential treatment program and/or therapeutic boarding school and have demonstrated significant progress indicating their readiness for a life-skills based transitional living program. It has been recognized that a transition period after residential treatment can be helpful and provide some of these young women with the best chance of ongoing success. For more information please call (828) 469-0716.