Looking for ways to increase your kindness levels?
1) Listen when someone is having a hard time
First up is the simple act of listening.
The incredible thing is that you’re already being kind by simply being present and alert when someone is speaking to you.
We live in a world where most people have their heads stuck in their mobile phones, or they’re distracted because of stress, lack of sleep, and the rising cost of living.
But to genuinely take an interest in what someone is saying is invaluable.
If you want to show kindness to others, start here.
Start by allowing your friends and family to talk to you on a deeper level about their issues. Don’t cut them off with reassurances or sweep aside their doubts.
The very best thing you can do is give them your undivided attention. Then, once they’ve got everything off their chest, you can take action by…
2) Offer help when wanted
In some cases, the kindest thing is to do nothing at all but be a shoulder to lean on for a friend or family member. Or, even a stranger for that matter.
But when someone reaches out for help, you can be kind by doing everything in your power to improve their situation.
Be the person that people can turn to in their time of need, without feeling shame or apprehension about approaching you.
Even if you can’t move mountains to help them, just by being willing to lend a hand, you’ll make them feel supported and cared for.
This is one of the easiest ways to be kind because usually, someone has specified what they need help with!
However, sometimes you’ve got to read between the lines, which leads me to my next point:
3) Offer support without being asked
The truth is, not everyone feels comfortable asking for help.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t need it!
I’ll give you an example; last year I had a pretty terrible birthday for reasons I won’t go into. All I’ll say is by the end of cutting the cake, I couldn’t hold back my tears and excused myself to go to the bathroom.
After a couple of minutes of freshening myself up, a friend’s boyfriend gently knocked on the door, handed me a glass of water, smiled at me, then headed back to join the party.
We never spoke about it – he never even knew what I was upset about. But he clearly sensed I needed a breather and, truthfully, that genuine smile and glass of water was so reassuring.
It was a simple act of kindness but one I’ll remember forever.
So, the next time you sense somebody is going through something, use your intuition and do what you can to turn their mood around!
4) If a friend or a family member has a business, support it
Chances are you’ve got social media. How many friends or family members have got their own small businesses or side hustles going on?
This is another simple way to show kindness – help them by promoting their businesses on your social media. All it takes is a second to click “share” and you never know, you may drive more customers their way!
Alternatively, you can support small businesses by choosing their products over big chain store brands.
Encourage those around you to do the same; the next time you hear a colleague talking about buying prints from Amazon, redirect them to your artist friend’s Etsy page; you’ll be doing both of them a favor!
5) Offer your skills to those who could benefit from them
Think about it; what skills do you have that could benefit others?
Maybe you’re a great baker – search for your local charity events and offer to donate a few cakes to sell!
Or, if you’ve got insane coding skills, why not help a friend as they get their website set up?
The truth is, we’ve all got something that someone else wants or needs.
And if you can offer your talents to aid someone, especially if they’re tight on cash and can’t afford a professional, you’ll be doing an incredibly kind deed!
The first time I went for a freelance writing position, I made a mess of it. I wrote a nice article but with zero line spacing or grammar check. Rookie mistakes.
The client, rather than berate me or make me feel bad, gently reminded me and suggested a few techniques he used to proof-check his work.
He shared his skills with me, and as a result? I’ve been able to secure more work and improve as a writer!
So the moral of the story is – you never know how much of an impact your kindness may have on someone in the long term!
6) Compliment people generously
Just as sharing skills can change someone’s life, so can complimenting them.
Never underestimate the power of a genuine compliment; it can stay with a person for years, or even a lifetime.
When you compliment someone, you’re spreading kindness by showing them you appreciate them!
But there’s a catch:
Don’t just focus on the physical, identify positive personality traits too.
Don’t compliment people all the time, it’ll lose its effect. Now and then is enough!
Be genuine – if you don’t really think it, don’t say it.
The best compliment I ever received?
Being told as a young adult that I’m a free spirit who lives life on her own terms. That very kind compliment has carried me through many tough times!
So the next time you see someone who could do with a confidence boost, don’t be afraid to drop a few (genuine and well-thought-out) compliments.
7) Reach out to those who are lonely
Loneliness is closely linked to a decline in health – it’s much more serious than most people realize.
But I get it, we’re all busy. We’ve all got jobs, mortgages, and bills to worry about, let alone caring for an elderly relative or lonely colleague.
So how can you fit it all in?
The truth is, lonely people don’t want your company 24/7. They just want someone to talk to from time to time. Someone they know who cares. Someone to sit with them at the end of a long day, even in silence.
If you could pop by a lonely neighbor’s house on the way home from work once a week, it’d make a huge difference to their mental and physical health.
Failing that, a phone call is better than nothing.
This would be an incredible way to show kindness to others!
8) Send care packages
On the theme of letting people know you’re there for them…
If someone’s experienced the death of a loved one, going through health issues, or a divorce, nothing says “I care” more than a thoughtful package!
Nowadays, care packages can consist of all sorts of wonderful, useful items, and you can even get them customized!
This is another way to spread kindness…
When people are facing calamities of any sort, remembering them and making the effort to send something helps inject just a bit of light and hope back into their lives!
9) Buy the person behind you a coffee
Here’s the scenario:
You’re standing in line at your favorite coffee shop. You don’t know the person behind you, but you decide to pay forward their coffee.
You get your order and leave. The stranger behind you goes to pay but is told they don’t need to.
Guess what that stranger will most likely do?
They’ll do the same thing to the person behind them!
Congratulations, you’ve just set off a chain reaction of kindness.
Although it’s an incredibly simple way to show kindness, it’s an effective one.
You never know who the person behind you is in the queue, nor how much they need that caffeine boost; an exhausted mom, a financially drained student; someone who’s just finished a 16-hour shift at the hospital.
Now, if you really want to up your kindness game, instead of leaving the coffee shop straight away, you could…
10) Make eye contact and smile
Why is this a way to show kindness, you might wonder?
Well, my friend, let me tell you that making eye contact and smiling at someone literally sets off a chemical reaction in their body (and yours!).
When you smile, you release dopamine and serotonin; two neurotransmitters that can positively affect mood (and other important bodily functions).
The point is:
In that moment when two eyes connect and a smile is shared, it’s easy to forget the hardships of life, even if it’s just for a few seconds.
So, why not be that for someone else?
That grumpy waiter you always stay clear of at your favorite restaurant? Try giving them a smile, even if they don’t reciprocate, it might mean a lot to them.
When you thank your barrister, don’t be shy. Look them in the eye, say their name if it’s written on their tag, and flash them a generous grin.
Your most powerful asset is one you can use so easily!
Because the truth is, showing kindness to others doesn’t have to be difficult or complex.
It’s a basic human value that we should practice daily, for ourselves and for others!