The Kindness of Strangers—The Personal Side
Like most good things in life, kindness requires intentionality. Just as studies show you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, you are more likely to perform acts of kindness if you write them down. So, make a list of acts of kindness you can perform at home and in public.
Here are some examples:
For loved ones:
- Make your partner’s breakfast or lunch.
- Fill your partner’s gas tank and/or have his/her car detailed.
- Leave a gift in your child’s lunchbox or surprise him/her at school for lunch.
- Leave a love note on your child’s pillow at night.
- Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru.
- Let someone go in front of you in line.
- Pay for another table while dining in at a restaurant.
- Put a couple of dollars in your Redbox movie case before returning it with a note that says, “Buy some treats to have with your movie.”
Whatever you decide, write your acts down. You can put them in a jar and pull one out as often as you like—once a week, once a month, etc. Or you can keep a journal to detail your journey.
Another aspect of “living kindly” that might even take place before you make your list is becoming mission minded. This means you adopt the mindset of living your life in a way that is mindful of others, seeking to give kindness whenever needed and/or possible. If you have children, you may even say to them, “In this house we perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis.” You can repeat this mission whenever you perform an act of kindness. Whether to yourself—if you live alone—or to your partner and/or children you repeat, “This is what we do in our family.”
To live kindly requires a mission mindset and planned, deliberate acts of kindness. But, there is a reward. Treating others with kindness engenders feelings of contentment, joy, peace, helpfulness and happiness. Whether you are giving or receiving kindness your emotional health benefits. And if you are giving kindness out it is sure to find its way back to you—at least that is what my kindergarten teacher always told me!
Being intentionally kind requires a certain level of emotional health and functioning. If you are struggling this holiday season with depression, anxiety or any other mental health disorder a mental health counselor can help you. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.