How To Make Kindness An Everyday Habit
Kindness is contagious and practicing it regularly changes your own life and others, says Gabriella van Rij, activist and author of Watch Your Delivery.
When Lady Gaga recently told her fans that kindness – not wealth and fame – is what creates harmony in the world she may have been on to something.
Research has shown that being kind makes us happier and also is contagious, inspiring others to be kind as well. For example, one such study published in the Journal of Social Psychology linked performing acts of kindness to an increase in life satisfaction.
That’s why as we make our resolutions for this New Year, we should make up our minds to commit purposeful acts of kindness every day.
Making kindness a habit changes lives – your own life and others. I believe we’re born with innate kindness, but we’ve just forgotten about it because we’re always running. We’re just too busy doing other things and we need to remind ourselves to be kind.
As a society, we’ve dropped the ball on human kindness and it’s time we picked it back up. I truly believe that we are all born with innate kindness, but then the hand that feeds us, or the environment makes us abandon it pretty fast. By the time we are five years old, we’ve learned to compete and to strive for success. It’s time for a new measuring stick for that success.
We can put a little more kindness in the world and quickly fall into the habit of committing kindness every day. Here’s how:
Be Kind To Yourself
It’s hard to have the patience to be kind to others if we can’t even take the time to be kind to ourselves. This might seem selfish, but it’s not. By being kind to ourselves, we shape our attitude toward others.
Answer Rudeness With Kindness
This one is difficult. When someone is rude to you, the first thing you do is instantly react and not always in a positive way. And the second thing you do is say it’s about me. They were nasty to me. But it’s not about you, it’s about the emotion. By answering rudeness with kindness, you diffuse the situation and there’s also a certain satisfaction in seeing the change in the attitude of the person who was rude.
Watch Your Delivery
The tone that accompanies your words is as important as what you are saying. Do you need to soften your tone? Does what you say sound more aggressive than what you mean? Body language also can send a message you didn’t intend, so be aware of your body language and your facial expressions.
Acknowledge Kindness When You See It
When you acknowledge the kind acts you see, that person will be encouraged to continue to spread kindness. Acknowledging kindness in others also will serve as a reminder to you about how you can show kindness.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons we don’t always treat each other well is that we are a fear-based society, and fear only breeds more fear. But luckily there is an antidote because just as fear breeds more fear, I believe kindness grows more kindness.
Gabriella van Rij is a speaker, author and activist whose latest book, Watch Your Delivery, explores how we often fail in communicating. Gabriella began her life as an orphan in Pakistan, and today is a frequent guest on TV and radio. She also is the author of I Can Find My Might and With All My Might.