There are numerous ways to be kind to people. The simplest acts can impact people in significant ways. I want to explore ways you can make a difference for those around you with your voice. We all have communication methods we prefer. I enjoy writing and speaking to groups but am uncomfortable using video. Using an approach you are comfortable with can make performing random acts of kindness less intimidating. Please continue reading to see why.
Some of us are good at speaking to convey a message. Talking is the way we feel most comfortable communicating. If this appeals to you, try to capitalize on that fact. For example, pay someone a compliment or call your loved one to tell them you're thinking of them. Visit your neighbor to check-in. Extroverts who love to talk have many ways to engage in random acts of kindness.
Some people feel intimidated about speaking. You might have social anxiety or be introverted. However, there are still several ways to show people you care. For example, maybe you love to write. If so, send an email to a co-worker to thank them. Write a little note on a post-it and give it to your child. I would stick little notes in my children's lunch when they were little. Submit a colleague's review on LinkedIn or leave a lovely blog comment for your favorite online personality. Wink, wink! These are all great.
You can use your creativity in your good deeds. For example, you can draw a mural for your neighborhood. Teaching an art class at the community center or nursing home might be enjoyable for you. Using your creative gifts is also fantastic for making your voice heard.
Another way to communicate is through body language. A smile or hug can make a huge difference in someone's life. It's a way to tell someone going through a hard time that you're there for them when you don't have the words. Being near is a great comfort to people during a distressing time. That might be something you're comfortable doing. We can all give someone a smile or encouraging nod.
Consider these ways of giving back through your words or other forms of language. There are unlimited ways how we can express random acts of kindness.
Pay It Forward
“Kindness is contagious?” is a familiar phrase. Most sayings like this become widely known and have some truth. Research has found scientific evidence that kindness can spread in various ways. For example, you've experienced instances where someone has paid it forward based on someone's good deed. The paying it forward concept is a far-reaching idea that can help others.
Both Sides Benefit
Everyone benefits from random acts of kindness. The giver feels good from going out of their way to make someone's day special. The recipient enjoys the surprise of positive interaction. We all appreciate it when someone is friendly and makes us feel special. These good feelings create a cycle because those involved want to continue feeling good. The giver will often be motivated to keep giving. The recipient wants to share their rewards and become a giver. They may feel obligated to “pay it forward,” but they know they will also experience a bonus.
Observers Experience Benefits, Too
You can benefit even if you're not directly part of an act of kindness. “Moral elevation” is a phenomenon that ensures good deeds will spread by creating positive feelings within the peripheral and central nervous systems. Neurophysical connections happen when someone witnesses or hears about an act of kindness. The euphoric feeling you get motivates you to want to do something good, perpetuating the pay-it-forward cycle.
Evidence in Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory studies how groups interact about core principles that people will behave similarly to those in their peer group or families. It's the “birds of a feather” philosophy when children grow up in a family where kindness and compassion are the norms, and they are more likely to display those traits. As when teachers demonstrate and emphasize a core philosophy of doing good to their students, this standard will be the precedent in the class. Kindness is essentially contagious when groups continually perform such behavior.
You can make a difference in your small corner of the world by simply performing random acts of kindness. Science and centuries of anecdotal evidence back this up. Encourage people around you to do good deeds, and you'll begin to see an impact.