In a previous post, I explored the wellbeing framework PERMA. One of the elements of this model suggests that if you focus on increasing your experiences of positive emotions, your levels of happiness will go up.
One way you can do this is to practise kindness – doing something to someone that will benefit them. A study by Lyubomirsky, Tkach, and Yelverton tested the impact of kindness on wellbeing and found that deliberately practising kindness positively impacts wellbeing. This can be done in many different ways but one of my favourites is to perform a random act of kindness.
A random act of kindness could be; offering your seat to someone who needs it more than you, shouting someone a coffee, sending a text to make someone smile, giving away your parking ticket that hasn’t yet expired, writing a letter acknowledging a great customer service experience or letting someone cut in front of you during a traffic jam.
These acts are meant to be selfless. You shouldn’t be doing them believing that there will be a reward. Yet done with the right intent, a random act of kindness can leave you feeling good.
And here’s another reason to practise kindness – happy people are kinder, and kind people are happier. Another study conducted by Otake of Japanese undergraduates found that happy people were kinder than people who were not happy. Kindness can also promote gratitude and increase your connections with others. You may even find that people are more kind towards you when they witness you being kind towards others.
In an ideal world, hopefully the outcome will be that the people you are kind to, are then kind to others, and that eventually you will be returned the favour. This happened to me recently when my barista Joanna, handed over my coffee cup with a message on it, on a day when she must have sensed that I needed it.
Although it should be a normal human behaviour, being kind needs to be practised. For ideas and inspiration, you can go to the website dedicated to random acts of kindness.
In a world, where we frequently witness people being unkind towards others, it is good to be different. I challenge you to try it out by performing one random act of kindness today.