National Kindness Day: Eight simple, everyday acts of kindness to boost your mental wellbeing

by Sarah Graham
Thursday 06 November 2014
210 13566

Thursday 13 November is National Kindness Day - a great excuse to practise random acts of kindness that will not only put a smile on the faces of those around you, but also boost your mental wellbeing as well.

Don't just take our word for it; research shows that random acts of kindness not only benefit the person on the receiving end, they also have proven benefits for your mental health. We asked RSCPP therapists to suggest eight simple, everyday acts of kindness, to help you celebrate National Kindness Day by bringing a little more joy to your world.

 

1. Smile at someone

Smiling is contagious and has proven health benefits. When you smile, it releases endorphins in your brain, which makes you feel happier and less stressed. As the other person is likely to smile back, it makes them healthier and happier too.

Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist Esmee Rotmans

 

2. Listen to someone

Listen to someone who needs to talk. Really listening to someone, without judging or giving advice, can help them feel acknowledged, less lonely, and contributes to better emotional health.

Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist Esmee Rotmans

 

3. Look after someone's pet

Why not offer to walk the dog for someone who is feeling under the weather or is short of time? As well as doing them a favour, walking is so good for you and stroking a friendly dog will reduce your stress.

 

4. Overlook a friend's shortcomings

Even if they have forgotten (again) that you had arranged to cook them Sunday lunch, try very hard to see the situation from their point of view, and find out what might be making them behave unreliably. That way you will see that it's likely to be about them, not you.

 

5. Send someone a card

Send someone a card, for no other reason than to voice your appreciation of their being in your world - just as they are! When we recognise and appreciate another's being, this kind of gift is deeply warming and healing.

 

6. Volunteer or donate to charity

Do some community or voluntary work if you have time. If not, then donate to a charity. If you are suffering from depression you will probably be very inward looking, focusing on your own concerns or worries. Helping others can contribute to your wellbeing by enabling you to look outside your own problems and focus on the needs of others, which can give you a sense of purpose, worth and meaning, and the positivity of feeling useful.

Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist Imelda Turnock

 

7. Do something fun

Be kind to yourself by taking time out to laugh and play. You will feel alive, invigorated and happier. If you can't be kind to yourself then you probably won't have much space or energy in your life to reach out and be kind to others.

Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist Imelda Turnock

 

8. Take time to relax

Share kindness with everyone, and that includes yourself. We all need time to refuel our energies and gain some inner balance, so do something for you that helps you to relax – whether it is taking a nice bath with relaxing music and candles, reading a book, listening to music, etc. When you make that time for yourself, you can feel more energised to do other things again.

Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist Esmee Rotmans


Finding support


If you are concerned about the issues raised in this article then you may like to read about finding the right therapist for you. If this route is not appropriate for you, your GP can assess you and direct you towards support.

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Updated 24 November 2014