Kindness comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for kin, meaning how we connect with other people to form relationship bonds. Through the acts of offering and receiving, kindness is the glue that helps people connect and maintain relationships with one another. This can be how we treat the people closest to us, such as family and friends, but also how we treat people in our community and beyond. Evidence shows that when we give and treat others well, this is also good for our psychological health and wellbeing.
Often we get caught up in our own stuff and the hectic pace of life, that we can miss opportunities to connect with people around us. Christmas particularly can be a difficult time for anyone who has experienced some form of loss or bereavement as it can bring back memories to the surface or reinforce the sense of loneliness and isolation. It can be an opportune time to consider how we might offer kindness to others. This does not have to be a grand gesture but an act of kindness can be something small and simple. Here are a few ideas:-
*Give a simple smile or “hello” to a passer-by on the street.
*Leave an item of food in a local foodbank for a struggling family. Some supermarkets now provide collection points where foodstuffs can be donated. As well as providing essential items, it helps people feel supported and not struggling alone.
*At Christmas, consider being a secret Santa by providing a gift or small parcel. There are often collections run locally for needy or deprived children. Charities such as the Salvation Army and Crisis provide a lot of support to the homeless over Christmas and are always looking for volunteers or donations.
*Kindness can also extend beyond humans to wildlife and the planet. Acts of kindness could include putting out food and water for birds during heavy frost or snow, or having a ready supply of recycled bags when out shopping.
Also importantly, remember acts of kindness also apply to yourself as well as others.