What goes around comes around - and with kindness it really does. Research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. What's more it has a knock-on effect - kindness is contagious, so it makes our communities nicer places to be.
Recent research into brain functioning has confimed that we are hard-wired for love and compassion. So it's not all chasing about individual success - our communities and society flourish when people look out for each other.
When we're kind to people we know it strengthens our connections with them and provides a source of support. Research shows that we may benefit from giving support more than those receiving it - and we're also more likely get support in return when we need it. This may not be like-for-like support, or even from the same person, but being kind to others builds a wider support network which increases well-being all round.
Doing kind things for strangers helps build co-operation, trust and a sense of safety in our communities. It also helps us to see others more positively and empathise with them. These are the foundations of a thriving local community and a flourishing society - one which builds well-being all round.
Kindness can be as simple as a smile, a thank-you or a word of encouragement. It's a way of connecting, even if only for a brief moment, with those we pass in our daily lives. It doesn't have to cost anything or take much time - what's important is that it's an act of genuine care and thoughtfulness for another person. There are lots of ideas below and throughout this website.
Kind acts can be spur of the moment, like when we notice someone in need. For example, we might give up our seat on the train or pick up and return someone's glovewhen they drop it. Opportunities to be kind pop up all over the place - like handing on a newspaper we've finished reading, letting someone take our parking space or passing on an unused ticket.
Kind acts can also be thought through in advance - planning to do something for a friend, neighbour or loved one or because we want to spread some daily joy. There are unlimited ways to be kind to others - we only need to keep your eyes open and pay attention to those around us to start seeing opportunities to help.
To be kind, it's important for us to be aware of the people around us - and to notice their needs and feelings. We all have an innate compassion but sometimes it takes bit of time for us to tune into it. As the Dalai Lama says: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible"
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