Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

Acts of kindness make us feel good about ourselves, and our lives. Think about the last time you were kind and good to someone and I bet it made you feel good about yourself. Opportunities exist every minute of every day to extend kindness to others. If we made a more conscious effort to be a kinder, better person, by practicing kindness regularly, our lives would become more extraordinary. Practicing acts of kindness while expecting nothing in return except the good feelings that these acts provide is life-giving. What better thing in life can there be than to be remembered or thought of as a kind, caring and loving person.

Helping others

An act of kindness is not only a good thing to do, it also makes us happier. Giving also connects us to others and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money; we can also give our time and energy. So, if you want to feel good, do good! Helping others is a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well as the happiness of those around you.

The people we help can be strangers, family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. They can be old or young, nearby or far away. Being kind to others can be as simple as a single kind word, smile or a thoughtful gesture. It can include giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Acts of kindness increase life satisfaction, provide a sense of meaning, increase feelings of competence, improve our mood and reduce stress. They can help to take our minds off our own troubles too.

Showing kindness to others helps us connect with people and meets some of our basic human needs. Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves. Kindness and selfless giving really are the key to creating a happier world.

Start doing it

So this week, start doing acts of kindness. Say I love you to the people you love. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Let someone out in front of you in traffic. Give or do something for a charity. Write a thank you note to one of your teachers or colleagues, past or present. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Help the elderly and parents with small children. Thank the men and women in uniform. Smile and say hello to everyone. Be kind to people and animals. Buy someone lunch or dinner. Volunteer in your community. Take a minute to direct someone who is lost. Offer to pick up groceries or to shopping for an elderly neighbour. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the shopping centre stairs. Each time you get a new item of clothing, give away something old. Bring your colleagues coffee or tea. Send flowers to a friend. Say please and thank you and really mean it. When you are on a crowded train or bus, offer your seat to someone who looks like they need it more. Forgive someone a debt and never bring it up again. Write a note to the boss or someone who helps you, and explain how great  a job that person is doing. Simply say I am sorry when you are wrong. Encourage someone who seems despondent. Ask someone How are you really doing? and then really listen to their response.

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, practice genuine acts of kindness wherever you can and always remember that kindness will always beget kindness.