Kindness is a gift.
And like all the best gifts, it doesn’t matter if you are giving or receiving, that warm fuzzy glow you get feels great.
The benefits of kindness are huge.
Yet some days, life just happens. We get busy, side-tracked and overwhelmed. And then we forget our intention to be kinder.
On those days we could all use a reminder.
And today, just for you, I’ve got 7 of them. Some are physical reminders while others are habits we can build into our daily routines. All of them help to sew kindness right into the fabric of each and every day and can help pull us back from the brink when we feel those good intentions slipping away.
These reminders can help us to navigate when we get lost in the mess and muddle of the day and nudge us in a kinder direction. And not only that, but they can support us to be more patient and boost our sense of peace and calm.
When we are intentionally focussed on spreading good will, and our radar is set to seek out benevolence in all it’s forms, we become much less vulnerable to sudden bursts of temper in the face of challenges. We gain trust in the people and world around us and feel better able to negotiate the bumpy road of life’s ups and downs.
Let’s get to it.
- List three examples of kindness you have given or received today.
Just like the gratitude habit but focussing instead on the kindness you’ve experienced each day. Make it a ritual before bed or over dinner where the whole family can swap their stories. Share the kindness of others and celebrate how you’ve been able to help someone else today.
Acknowledge the compassion you’ve shown yourself, it’s a powerful model for those around us and skyrockets our ability to show others genuine kindness.
- Write in a kindness journal every day.
Go one step further and get those glorious examples down on paper. Build an ongoing treasury of kind loveliness you can look back on.
As daily practices, both of these can be so beneficial in retraining our minds. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good that is all around us. But what we notice and pay attention to will inform our reality. By choosing to focus on the altruistic activities of others and deliberately looking for opportunities to practise kindness ourselves, we begin to see and experience yet more and more.
- Make a kindness jar.
Maybe you’d prefer to write your examples on slips of paper and fill a kindness jar. Decorate it beautifully and display it prominently, then whenever you’re feeling a bit down pull out a slip of paper and you get to experience those moments of kindness all over again.
Or for a little twist, why not fill your jar with ideas for random acts of kindness. Routinely pull out a slip of paper, be inspired and go forth with grace and generosity.
- Use kindness rocks or beads.
If you’re looking for a more tangible reminder, carry a kindness rock (just a little one!) in your pocket or bag, or wear some kindness beads. You can make your own or pick some up from Etsy. Every time you reach in your pocket or see your chosen item you’ll be reminded of your kind intentions.
Decorate rocks from your garden with inspiring words or phrases and leave out and about for others to find. They might just brighten someone’s day and remind them too of the healing power of kindness.
- Use visual reminders on your hands and arms.
I love drawing smiley faces and hearts on my hands to support my intentions. Choose any symbol that embodies kindness and it will remind you of your commitment each time you notice it. You could decorate your arm with a well-chosen keyword or mantra to inspire you through the day. Or maybe an inspirational wristband or those gorgeous beads from number 4.
As well as spurring you into action, these might also spark curiosity in others, providing the opportunity to spread the message of kindness and encourage them to stretch their own kindness muscles.
- Dish out the cheese and crackers.
“…and take it to them, wherever they are, unasked.” So beautifully put by Pam Sorooshian, quoted on Sandra Dodd’s website (in the second section of this page). Take some time every day to stop and think of ways to express your love with kindness. It doesn’t have to involve crackers (although we should never underestimate the value of a nice snack). Make someone a cuppa or take them a blanket, whatever seems right at the time.
Like all of these suggestions it can be helpful to set an alarm or reminders on our phone – think about who could use some cheese and crackers (metaphorical or real) and go fetch some.
- Star in your own kindness documentary.
Imagine you are the star of a documentary on kindness, there’s a camera crew following you around and you’re demonstrating how this kindness lark is done really, really well. Be the epitome of kind. Channel a kindness superstar and go spread the love.
This isn’t about pretending; although a little bit of ‘fake it til you make it’ can definitely help to turn around a bad mood. And it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. In fact making mistakes is the perfect opportunity to practise self-compassion whilst striving to do better next time. If you can make amends when you do slip up, maybe a heartfelt apology after some harsh words, that can be a great chance to deepen our connections to others.
So, have you have used any of these reminders to be kinder? Let me know which ones worked well for you. And I’d love to hear any more great tips on making kindness the focus of our days, please go ahead and share them in the comments.
Keeping it kind x