Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Human connection satisfies a fundamental need to belong and is established by recognizing and valuing each other. Kindness fosters connection by creating a sense of acceptance and reduces feelings of isolation. A moment spent sending wishes of friendliness, concern, or support, nurtures connection and builds our capacity for kindness. As we help each other, we can maintain and strengthen our social ties.
Practicing kindness towards ourselves and others promotes happiness and confidence while simultaneously building on our own character. Improving someone’s day through an unexpected kind gesture enhances both the giver and receiver’s mood. It also has unintended physiological benefits, such as boosting your immune system, reducing blood pressure, and lowering stress and anxiety.
Kindness does not have to be grand or expensive, as the smallest gestures often have the greatest impact. For example, a moment of support during a time of need, words of encouragement, or a simple smile can make a world of difference.
Obstacles to Kindness
It is common to experience obstacles to being kind, such as fear, distraction, anticipation, or exhaustion.
Fear exposes itself in multiple ways: fear of drawing attention or causing embarrassment, fear of having an act of kindness rejected, or fear of doing something wrong. Knowing that being kind is never the wrong choice can help you overcome these feelings.
We can miss opportunities to serve as we rush to complete our to-do lists and meet the demands of daily life. Focus on living in the present to avoid these kindness obstacles.
Insufficient sleep or inadequate mental rest often leaves people running on their last reserves. Overcome the obstacle of exhaustion by making time for self-care and relaxation.
Our perspective is often limited by experiences and, as a result, we don’t always see eye-to-eye with others. Extending simple gestures of kindness bridges this gap, allowing connections to form. Recognizing that someone may be having a bad day provides a sense of empathy and makes a moment of kindness more meaningful. View others in a positive light to make it easier to be kind.
Finding Ways to Be Kind
Reconnect by creating a habit of kindness. Improve connections with self and others by practicing the following activities:
Connect to yourself
- Schedule time for self-care, meditation, and hobbies
- Savor your morning tea or coffee
- Listen to your favorite type of music during your commute
Connect to neighbors
- Wheel their trash bins out to the curb
- Rake their leaves or shovel snow
- Drop off a treat
Connect to co-workers
- Offer to take a work-related project off their hands
- Show genuine interest in their lives outside of work
- Leave a note of encouragement on their desk
Connect to family and friends
- Deliver a small gift for no reason
- Offer to babysit for free
- Write a note of gratitude
Connect to your community
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood
- Put coins in an expired parking meter
- Be kind to your restaurant server and leave a generous tip
Kindness is both a mindset and a habit. It takes effort to actively cultivate this behavior, but once it has been adopted, opportunities to apply it can appear everywhere. A habit of kindness can be acquired through diligent daily practice, and each small act will add up to a lot of good.