In fact, according to a survey, 76 percent of respondents say the world is a less kind place than it was 10 to 20 years ago. The good news is that humans are naturally wired to be kind—sometimes it just takes a little thought.
So, if you want to spread good vibes and compassion to the people in your life, here are 10 simple ways to practice kindness every day.
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Use Your Manners
I’m sure your parents told you this or you may say it to your own kids, but sometimes we simply forget to say “please” and “thank you”. Don’t forget to say “please” when you ask for something, whether you’re talking to a waiter, customer service representative, cashier, friend, or even a random stranger. Saying “please” changes the tone of a request. Instead of making a demand, you’re being courteous to the person, which makes them more likely to want to help you.
On the other hand, when you say “thank you,” you’re expressing gratitude for a behavior or service and you’re letting the person know you appreciate and value their effort. No one wants to feel insignificant—say “please” and “thank you” and make someone’s day.
Smile at a Stranger
How do you feel when someone smiles at you? In most cases, it makes you feel warm and happy, and you probably smile at them as a result. Smiling is actually contagious, according to a study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. We often mimic facial expressions of emotions because of sensorimotor stimulation. So when we see someone smile, we often do the same.
No matter what’s going on in your day, smiling can make you feel better; it’s hard to be upset when you’re smiling. So, share these good feelings with others—even when you don’t know them personally—and make sure to smile at the people you encounter.
Don’t Be Stingy with Hugs
Like a smile, a friendly embrace can make a person’s day. A good hug can lift someone’s spirits, make them feel loved and appreciated, or be just the pick-me-up they need for a hard day. But did you know, this simple act of affection also affects us, chemically? “Basically, a good hug is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body,” according to Susanna Halonen, a positive psychology expert at Happyologist. “Oxytocin, also known as the ‘love drug’, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions.”
So if you want to make someone else feel better and boost your spirits as well, bring it in for a nice, comforting hug!
Use Your Coins to Make Change
Do you have some extra change in your pocket or wallet? Why not use it to make someone else’s day? Instead of holding onto it, when you’ll probably forget all about it, put it in a parking meter or a collection tin at the grocery store. You won’t even notice it’s gone and you’ll be helping another person or cause.
Send (Real) Cards
With Facebook and other social networks, people tend to say “hello” or “happy birthday” via social media. As a result, people receive fewer greeting cards. You can instantly lift someone’s mood by sending a card in the mail. While you can always send a birthday card or a holiday card, why not send a “just because” card to let someone know you’re thinking of them? Sometimes, the unexpected cards are the best, and they’ll make a lasting, positive impression—guaranteed.