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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.