It’s a social construct to say ‘we’re busy.’ Success seems to be defined by how busy we are. But are we really too busy? When a friend is in need we will give up everything, but it’s a daily occurrence to see perfect strangers yelling at each other on the tube. Nobody needs to be a humanitarian warrior to bring a little bit more kindness into daily existence.
It goes without saying that everyone is fully aware of the glossy aspirational nature of Social Media and while #fauxtography sells products and lifestyles it tends to highlight the negative over the positive. However, charity campaigns can see huge success ‘The Ice Bucket Challenge,’ and The #Nomakeupselfie raised huge funds. These highlight that embracing social media can transform the awareness of a particular good cause. Kindness gets a bit of a bad wrap for seeming soppy but social campaigns can change opinion. Adverts from leading retailers have also created successful adverts that hone in on family also and true Christmas messages.
Many of us without thinking do daily acts of kindness and we get a little guilty rush of pride. But if we saw a positive celebration of these little acts on Social media the butterfly effect is an exciting prospect.
Speedy and selfless ideas:
- Donate a coffee
I’m sipping from a red cup as we speak…How many Shop bought coffees do we need in one day when we have a kettle? You only have to stand outside without gloves for a minute to feel the cold.
No need to second guess how your money will be spent, a hot drink can be very much needed.
- Reconnect with someone in person.
If you throw away the word ‘should’ your level of productivity can skyrocket. ‘We should catch up’ is a phrase often banded around. Why not actually catch up in person rather than exchanging a couple of texts that don’t really create any connection?
- If you have a skill share it.
I’m not a nail technician but I recently gave my friend a gel manicure to save her some money. Why not build a website for an artist friend or Photograph a wedding if you have the skills. If you’re able to use something that comes naturally to you it could benefit someone else massively and we shouldn’t be afraid to network in this way.
- Parcels for Food/Clothing bank
Add something extra to your shopping order. If you’ve got tins lining the shelves of your cupboards at home or old coats that are last season. Someone else could need them more. Supermarkets have also got drop off points to make this really convenient. Wrap up London was a very successful recent campaign donating coats at busy stations across the capital. Huge coverage was gained from the simple act of dropping off something cluttering your wardrobe on your daily commute. Get together and donate them to Spitalfields Crypt Trust. This charity is helping people on our doorstep and welcomes companies to experience what they do day to day and how they help to rehabilitate the homeless.
- Flowers for a Loved one or Stranger.
Normally we offload about how stressful our day was to the one person we care about most, without considering how theirs might have been. Asking about their day first might just take the shift away from our stressed inward focus. Giving to somebody else can really benefit our own mood and situation.
Age UK runs an outreach program for people to spend an hour sharing stories over a cup of tea or reading. These activities can really help to reduce isolation in those that are housebound.
- Other Easy Acts of Kindness: Babysit for free, Train Station book swap, Keep the Road rage under control, Give up your seat on a crowded tube, Volunteer, Take Dog food and blankets to an animal charity, Adopt an animal via a zoo or charity.
You won’t be stuck for ideas when you become aware of the world around you. Mindfulness is a great practice but day to day we rarely achieve it. Mindfulness is defined by being in the moment, we normally know we’ve achieved it when we haven’t noticed the time or are completely in the present. It’s easy to notice in a sporting activity, if you’re playing a game of football all you’re thinking about is the ball. You might think you’re actually switching off but this is relaxing because you’re completely in the moment and it gives you a huge high.
Scientists suggest when you’re in love everything is heightened and colours seem brighter but perhaps that’s just because we are noticing the world around us and living moment to moment. Embrace the world around, notice sights and experiences. There is opportunity everywhere and who knows what one act of kindness could do. If we take our earphones out, look up from our smart phone and offer someone a seat or smile we might notice opportunity. Entrepreneurs have suggested that half of their success comes down to recognising the ‘lucky’ opportunities and taking them.
Low investment, low risk, small acts of kindness.
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