10 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness
“Monks, these two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful for a kindness done and feels obligated to repay it. These two people are hard to find in the world.”
Aṅguttara Nikāya 2.119 – Dullabha Sutta
Kindness (also known as mettā in Pali or maitrī in Sanskrit) means benevolence, friendship, and good will. It is the first of the Four Immeasurables (Brahmavihāras) as taught by the Buddha.
Kindness is the most fundamental values as a human. Being kind is the powerful way to connect with others. People will develop trust in you and remember you because of your tiny acts of kindness.
Research has shown the relationship between kindness and happiness. The more you practice kindness towards others, the happier you will be. In a study by Dr. Stephanie Brown, a psychologist from University of Michigan, people who regularly offered practical help to others had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who did not.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, says, “There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
November 13 is a World Kindness Day. Let us celebrate the joyous occasion by practicing more random acts of kindness. Try out the following ten tips to experience the inner peace and happiness of taking actions to be kinder and more compassionate:
#1 – Give Something
Generosity is an act of kindness. There are plenty of ways to give: donate money to charity, volunteer your time to help the needy ones, or even bring a gift or a souvenir whenever you visit a friend. Even at home, we can always lend a helping hand by offering to wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, or clean the bathrooms.
#2 – Say “Thank You” More
Saying thank you is an expression of gratitude. A grateful heart is all it takes to express kindness. Appreciation, even for the smallest things, helps us to expand our heart and capacity for unconditional love.
#3 – Praise Someone
Giving a sincere praise to someone is an act of kindness. A jealous and envious person will always be stingy in giving praise. By giving words of recognition to others, we can help them to develop confidence in themselves.
#4 – Speak Gently
A gentle voice is like a soothing breeze in spring. Always speak with gentleness so that people who listen to us feel at ease and experience a sense of peace and joy.
#5 – Send Good Wishes
Secretly send people good intentions, wishes, and prayer. Kindness always begin with a kind thought.
#6 – Encourage Someone
Always speak words of comfort, affirmation, and encouragement. This is the way to give people hope and strength to carry on in times of adversity.
#7 – Give a Hug
Research has shown that a good hug gets the oxytocin flowing in the body which calms our nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Do not underestimate the power of the physical touch in expressing loving-kindness.
#8 – Be Patient
Patience is a virtue. Without patience, a person will be easily agitated and edgy. If people treat us in an unkind manner, just be patient and treat them with gentleness and kindness instead.
#9 – Be Magnanimous
Have a big heart to forgive others and let go of past resentment. Holding grudges, anger, and resentment bring nothing but miseries. A spirit of magnanimity is a cornerstone of kindness.
#10 – Smile and Laugh
Lastly, smile and laugh more often! A smile is always the most beautiful cosmetic in the world. If you always look grumpy and grouchy, people will stay away from you. Always smile, chortle, or laugh to your heart’s content. Make someone’s day by giving them a genuine big smile.