Did you know that altruism has a huge impact on mental health? With Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, it’s a great opportunity to practice some acts of genuine goodwill towards family and strangers. It’s easy to get the whole family involved, and a good time to start a new trend that you can carry forward on a regular basis the whole year long.
Want some ideas to get started? Great! Here we go:
Teach (and practice) listening
YES, listening is a kindness. One of the first and best steps in showing compassion to another is hearing what the other person really has to say. It sounds simple, but listening is the first step in making connections, being compassionate and empathetic towards strangers, building relationships, intrapersonal problem solving – and even smaller things like picking out great, thoughtful presents for holidays and birthdays!
Try to make some time for one-on-one real talk. Ask your child what’s on their mind. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Listen, ask questions, and engage – and encourage your child to do the same with you.
With social distancing on everyone’s mind, there’s fewer opportunities to present help spontaneously, but we should always do what we can to assist. Within the family there’s certainly always plenty to do! And other options may crop up unexpectedly, too. Shoveling a neighbour’s walkway? It counts! So does helping a fellow student with a math dilemma or a good idea for a school project. Ask your child if they know someone who could use their help with anything. The answer is probably yes!
Call, write, or send a gift like a drawing
Letting someone know that you think about them is a great way to show kindness. Prompt your child with the question: “Is there anybody we haven’t seen lately that we should let know that we love them?” Your child will probably likely have someone come to mind right away, and if you ask, they’ll likely have an idea for reaching out, too!
Make a donation and/or volunteer
Donating, the act of giving without expectation of receiving thanks or even meeting the recipient, is one of the ultimate forms of altruism. There are so many places in need of support, and so many ways to give it, in either time, money, or material (volunteering is a donation of time!). Donations don’t have to be expensive to have a big impact. The key to a donation’s value is the thought put towards solving a true need. After all, how does one put a price tag on something like used towels and socializing with animals at the shelter, or making a cash donation to the local food bank so that they can buy more goods for people who are hungry? It’s priceless.
Commit to daily kindnesses
Really, it’s less work than you think, especially once you develop the habit! Check out Random Acts of Kindness | Kindness Printables for a daily calendar if you need a little extra help with thinking of something to do every day.
Remember: “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” —Helen James
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