This is a collaborative post.
People commonly think of kindness as one of many good virtues. It is vital to point out, however, that kindness should not merely exist as some kind of intangible idea. The true meaning of kindness reveals itself in words and actions that give it its form. Hence, to show kindness, one must practice it.
Even so, in the blur of busy days and crowded streets, it is easy to forget to act kindly. This is unfortunate because being kind not only makes you feel better but also offers several health benefits. Among these include lower blood pressure and increased positive thinking. The opposite rings true for when people act unkindly; it can lead to losing sleep, raised blood pressure, and fatigue.
When you weigh the effects of being kind and unkind, it is abundantly clear that you have more to gain when you act kindly. However, another question arises: How do you practice being kind? At this point, you must take note that practicing kindness works similarly to building a habit. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes for you to do it consistently. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some easy things you can do to develop a habit of kindness.
Never underestimate the power of smiling. When you smile, you improve not only your mood but the mood of others as well. Smiles, after all, are contagious and can lift the spirits of those around you. Couple it with a greeting–whether to your family or neighbours–and you can brighten up somebody’s day.
Start with the Little Things
Kindness does not necessarily mean grand gestures of love or charity (e.g. large donations, lavish dinners) although they do count. More often than not, you can show kindness through the little things. It is holding the door open for somebody as you both enter the same establishment. It is helping an elder or person with a disability cross a busy street. It is looking for halal restaurants through the Muslim Pro app when inviting a Muslim colleague to eat with you. Respecting other people’s boundaries and accommodating their needs are clear displays of kindness and will be greatly appreciated by their receivers.
Show Your Appreciation to Others
Whether it is in their personal or professional life, people yearn to be appreciated. Hence, showing the other person that you take notice of their hard work and recognize it not only makes them happier but gives them a confidence boost to do better as well. There are many ways to accomplish this, including being more generous with compliments or giving them a gift (like a bouquet of flowers or a lovely dinner). To do this, commit to purposefully looking for things you like about the other person and speaking them out. It could be how well they matched their outfit or how organized they are at work. Make it known. By showing this act of kindness, you are inspiring them to act kindly to others as well.
Support a Cause
The world can be a dark place, and there will always be humans, animals, and places that need help. Searching for a cause you are passionate about is an excellent opportunity to not only show your goodwill but also find others that hold a similar vision to yours. The cause can be about anything: helping out-of-school youth, spreading awareness about an endangered species, providing provisions for refugees, or participating in efforts to clean the ocean. In this manner, you contribute to the magnification of the act of kindness and spread information and goodwill to others as well.
Let Go of Anger
Throughout the day, there will be times that you get annoyed or angry. Another car may cut you off in a road, you may get into an argument in the office, or the neighbor may be too loud for your liking. While anger is a natural response to the things happening around you, it is important to remember that holding on to anger for too long undercuts kindness. After all, it is difficult to be kind when angry, so you must avoid letting it get a hold of you.
Tempering anger is not always easy, but there are simple ways you can accomplish this. You can hit the pause button before getting into a confrontation and take deep breaths to first cool your head. For Islam followers, the Muslim Pro app Facebook page has several reminders that can help you navigate harsh feelings and set your priorities straight. Others may seek the counsel of a third party to help them evaluate their situation and address their anger. By doing so, you can let go of the anger and stay committed to kindness.
These are only some of the little things you can do to practice kindness. It may take you some time to get used to it, as you practice it daily, being kind becomes your second nature–giving you access to its numerous benefits. Aside from improving your health, you will also be putting more love and goodwill into the world. Indeed, a simple act of kindness can go a long way.