15 Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Today

by Henrik Edberg

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”
Confucius

Kindness is often a pretty simple thing to spread in the world.

But we often forget about it. Or don’t remember how it can help us all.

Three things that I like to keep in mind and that help me to try being a kinder person are these:

  • I get what I give. Yep, some people will be ungrateful, miserable and not reciprocating no matter what you may do. But most people will over time treat you as you treat them.
  • By being kinder to others I am more likely to be kinder to myself. It may sound a bit odd but my experience is that when I am kinder towards others then my self-esteem goes up and I think more highly about myself.
  • It simply makes my own little world a nicer and happier place to live in.

So how can you start spreading the kindness in your daily life? Here are 15 ways to do it.

Pick one of the them that resonates with you and start spreading the kindness today.

1. Express your gratitude.

Think about what you can be grateful for about someone in your life. Maybe that he is a good listener, that he often is quick to help out or that he always adds great songs to a Spotify playlist. Or simply that he held up the door for you.

Then express that gratitude in a simple “thank you!” or in a sincere sentence or two.

2. Replace the judgments.

No one likes to be judged. And the more you judge other people the more you tend to judge yourself. So despite the temporary benefit of deriving pleasure from the judgments it is not a good or smart long-term habit.

3. Replace the unconstructive criticism.

Try encouragement instead of excessive criticism. It helps people to both raise their self-esteem and to do a better job. And it will make things more fun and more light-hearted in the long run.

4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

It is quite easy to resort to unkindness when you see things just from your perspective. Two questions that help me to see and to better understand other viewpoints are:

  • How would I think and feel it if I were in his or her shoes?
  • What parts of this person can I see in myself?

5. Recall how people’s kindness made you feel.

Just sit down for a few minutes and try to recall one time or a few times when other people’s kindness really touched you and helped you out.

Then think about how you can do those very same things for someone in your life.

6. Express kindness for something you may often take for granted.

It is easy to remember and to feel motivated to express kindness when someone is having a rough time or have just finished an important project.

But also remember to express kindness for how someone continues to put so much love into the dinners you eat. Or for being on time every day and doing their job well and keeping deadlines.

7. Hide a surprising and kind note.

Leave a small note with a loving or encouraging sentence in your partner’s or child’s lunchbox, hat, tea-container or book that he or she is reading right now. That minute of your time will put a smile on her face and joy and motivation in her heart.

8. Just be there.

Listen – without thinking about something else – when someone needs to vent. Just be there fully with your attention. Or have a conversation and help someone find his or her way out of fear and to a more constructive and grounded perspective.

9. Remember the small acts of kindness too.

Let someone into your lane while driving. Let someone skip ahead of you in a line if he is in a real hurry. Hold up the door for someone or ask if they need help when you see them standing around with a map and a confused look.

10. Give someone an uplifting gift.

Someone in your life may have a bit of a tough time right now. Then send him or her an inspirational book or movie. Or simply send an email with a link to something inspiring that you have found like a blog, article or a comic.

11. Help someone out practically.

Give them a hand when moving or with making dinner or arrangements before a party. If they need information, then help out by googling it or by asking knowledgeable people that you know.

12. Help the people in your life see how they make a difference in their lives.

When you talk to someone about his or her day or what has been going on lately then make sure to point out how he or she also has spread kindness and given value. People are often unaware of the positive things they do or they minimize them in their own minds.

So help them to see themselves in a more positive light and to improve their own self-esteem.

13. Remember the 3 reasons for kindness at the start of this article.

It will help you to be kinder even when you may not always feel much like it. If you like, write those reasons down on a piece of paper and put that note where you can see it every day.

14. Pay it forward.

When someone does something kind for you – no matter how big or small – then try to pay that forward by being kind to someone else as soon as you can.

15. Be kinder towards yourself.

Then you will naturally treat other people with more kindness too. It is truly a win-win habit.

A simple way to start being kinder toward yourself is to each evening write down 5 things you appreciate about yourself and about what you have done that day in a journal.

Image by Helga Weber (license).




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{ 51 comments }

Vincent August 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Great advice, Henrik. I think I’m already doing most of these when I can, but they’re good reminders.

I’m really glad you put expressing sincere gratitude at the very top. That’s the most overlooked and it makes the most difference. I know a lot of people who secretly feel unappreciated and it’s something that bothers them very much. They are wondering where their respect is. Then you come along and sincerely thank them and you see their eyes light up.

Especially employees who work in jobs that are solely to serve others. Waiters/waitresses, taxi drivers, etc. They deal with so many people each day and I’m quite sure a large majority don’t even look them in the eye.

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thanks for adding and expanding upon expressing gratitude, Vincent. I agree, many feel unappreciated and that is sad because – as you say – a simple and sincere thank you can really help.

Nay August 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Just exactly what the world needed. More kindness. thanks for the reminder Hendrik.

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Glad you liked the article, Nay!

Ana Gaze August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

That was a great post! You are completely right! Most of people just forget about being kind. Everyone is living in it’s own world and just don’t look to the others. We can see it everyday everywhere. Everyone wants to be the first, to get earlier in or out, nobody wants to wait, to be kind and let others go first. Anything like this… And the sad thing is that they just didn’t learn how to be kind. Congratulations for this post and for the nice content of this website!!!

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Thank you for your very kind words, Ana!

Bob Harding August 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Hello Henrik,

Wonderful essay! Your words are so true. This is good stuff. And the best thing to do with good stuff is to share it! I’ve just written a blog essay you may be interested in: http://thehousenewf.blogspot.ca/2013/08/23-how-you-just-do-it-matters.html
Thanks for sharing your essay. Now please excuse me while I pay it forward! Cheers!

Bob from Canada

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Glad to be of help and thank you for the linktip, Bob!

Marilyn Wilson August 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I loved your article, so true and to the point! Marilyn

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thank you, Marilyn!

Patrik Edblad August 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm

This article reminded me of Shawn Achor’s awesome TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html) in which he talks about simple exercises like:
- Writing down 3 new things that you’re grateful for each day
- Journaling about one positive experience every day
- Exercise
- Meditation
- Random acts of kindness (like sending one e-mail to someone in your social support network each day thanking them)

These exercises can have tremendous benefits like actually rewiring your brain to scan the world for the positive instead of the negative and much more.

I highly recommend watching his talk to anyone who’s interested in the research behind kindness exercises like the ones Henrik writes about.

Awesome list by the way, thanks for sharing :)

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Haven’t seen that one yet, will check it out. Thank you for the tip, Patrik!

JAYASHREE shah August 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Henrik,Once again very well written and summarized . I agree and will practice more often.
Kindness is a virtue and it can be found more often around us if we choose to.Often we don’t have a clear vision and right attitude to experience it ,as we are too preoccupied and wrapped up in our own little self,immerse in self created problems. Our own sense of gratitude is something we need to sharpen .

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Thank you for adding your experience and thoughts on the topic! And I appreciate your kind compliment.

Dave August 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

Kia Ora Henrik,

Just a short note to say that I have subscribed to your daily blog/letters for a while now and your articles are right on the money.

I personally get great benefits from your wisdom and I thank you for doing the work you do.

Keep up the excellent work!

Best regards

Dave Halligan
New Zealand

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

That is awesome to hear, I truly appreciate to hear such specific and uplifting feedback, Dave! And I will do! :)

Bernadette August 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

This is lovely thanks Henrik. A great way to start my day today reading this! A day ahead of kindness to self and others. Bernadette :)

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Thanks, I’m happy to hear that the article started your day in great way! :)

Mo August 14, 2013 at 2:46 am

Hey :) I’ve been reading a lot of your blogs. I just wanted to say that you actually have helped me through some stuff just by writing certain things, and I just wanted to thank you and tell you that you’re doing a great job, so keep it up :)

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Thank you very much, Mo! That is wonderful to hear.

abel August 14, 2013 at 3:26 am

this was helpful. I am holding a grudge on someone who hurted me so badly and when I came across on what confucius said I realized that there is something more important than being angry. and besides being angry is like drinking poison and expecting that person to die. thanks I love this post :) it’s gonna be a great day.

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s great to hear that this article helped you out at the right time. :) Thank you for sharing, Abel.

tarsem August 14, 2013 at 10:07 am

to be kind is a reward in itself. one remain peaceful at heart till the memory of good deed or nice thought he commited. an insiperational and thought provoking article. it requires to put in to practice for the benefit and welfare of humanity as a whole.

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Very true, thank you for adding your thoughts!

Susan August 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

lovely blog – it spreads a feel good factor (hopefully around the world!!)

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I hope that too. :)

Roger Ellman August 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

Henrik,

I appreciate the lits and never a moment exists where one or other or several of these are not relevant.

I would not include or expect inclusion of this on its own, as one item of the list, but I thought I’d introduce to Thankly.com as it is a useful place to say thank you for anything and have that thank you stay as a public tribute. You may like it.

Thanks for your ongoing inspirations….
Best
Roger

Henrik Edberg August 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Thank you for the kind words and for sharing your way to say thanks, Roger!

Barbara August 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Great advice! I have been practicing gratitude since last January; it creates a more positive life.
thanks for the reminders! and remember to be kind to yourself!

This Bar Saves Lives (@thisbar) August 15, 2013 at 2:44 am

Awesome article, Henrik! We stumbled onto your blog from GOOD.is
We’re big fans of happiness and positivity. Thanks for spreading your knowledge on this subject. Keep rocking it!

G. Caleb Lee August 15, 2013 at 4:48 am

Henrik, what a solid list. At first, I was a bit hesitant as I usually steer away from lists (I never remember them), but after the first few, they really rang a bell with every aspect of empathy and honest sincerity that this world lacks. Thanks for the great reminders! I really liked the “allowing someone into your lane”. Totally applicable. Keep it up!

yousuf August 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Iam very glad with these 15 Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Today. I really thank alot. It is required to spread kindness among us as humainbeing , animal , and the enviornment as whole. Thank you again you are doing a great job.

mannu August 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm

its all awesome dear . ………../..

Laurien August 16, 2013 at 7:33 am

Thank you for sharing your writing in such a practical and digestible way. I’ve been getting your blog for the past year, and it always encourages me. Thank you!

Linn Karlsen August 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Thank you so much, Henrik!

This reminder has helped me so much in my daily life, among strangers, Facebook-friends, IRL-friends and in my relationship, true happiness comes from helping those around you. You’re great!

All your articles has made a huge change in my wellbeing.
Everyone I know hears me praise you and this wonderful site of yours.
You help me remind myself of what’s important in life.
I’ve taken on the positivity-challenge and I can already (after just two days) see a more relaxed, happy and energized me.
You’re articles are like my bible :)
Thank you for spreading happiness!

With love from Norway :)

Anthony August 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I have being with the blog for about nine months now.i use to feel useless before i join the blog after i have join the blog i am now a new person who look at life with different perspective than before. Thanks very much for the email that i receive from the blog. I want to ask you something how do i get good marks if i am new student at varsity?

Jeremy August 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I really like # 9, “Remember the small acts of kindness too,” because things like holding the door open for someone or letting someone into your lane are simple things to do. But despite them being so simple, they are very rewarding and personally, make me want to do more to be a positive person in the world. Something small that I like to do is when at a store checking out is to simply say “thank you” and mean it and compliment the cashier on something they did well. You can tell how much people appreciate things like that by the looks on their faces, and if you’ve ever had someone do the same to you, you can remember how it made you feel.

Thanks for the uplifting article Henrik!

Sidra Batool August 19, 2013 at 9:54 am

This is lovely Henrick!
u did a very nice jobnd thanks for the reminder.. :D

M Aamir August 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Appreciated Henrik, Live your life with open arms, that’s a big one for me
15 Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Today. stay Blessed!!

Carol August 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Great tips Henrik, I wish more people would live like this. I really love number 4 because I think many of us (myself included) can forget to put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

Sai August 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Very helping lines… Thank a lot for this service

Debbie August 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I have been receiving your messages for a while now. They are always so inspirational, so “on-spot” for my life (or sometimes a friend or family situation). You are one of the most awesome people I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, and my respect for you is tremendous.
You will never know how much you have impacted my life. Thank you so much.
Debbie
Pensacola, FL

Tina Williamson August 24, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Hello Hendrik:
I just stumbled across your blog and I have to say I simply love it!
Tina

Michael August 26, 2013 at 9:53 am

Great post, I have always lived by the motto give what you get and alternatively you will get what you give. Kindness is the easiest thing in the world to give. A little kindness goes a long way.

James Peters August 28, 2013 at 1:43 am

Excellent work! This really hits home. Kindness is universal and does not take much time or money. Most of the things you listed require no money at all.

I loved #8 – Just be there. Sometimes that is far more important than gifts, help, or great advice. Kindness must occur all the time, not just when convenient. Great reading!

James

steve werner August 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

fantastic post.

might I add :

Do something kind every day for some one you will never know

Peace

SW

Real and Fantastic September 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I loved your post about Kindness. I realised at some point in my life I was/am too demanding with other people, because in fact I am too demanding with myself. I tend to achieve perfection and anything but it isn’t enough. But I sense that also a very low self-esteem was blocking my attempts at showing gratitude to others. That always made me very judgemental on other people. A couple of years. I always doubted how important I was in other peoples lives, so even if I wanted to make them a compliment I wasn’t capable of. Two years ago I started showing gratitude and being more kind to others and I really feel I am less judgemental about myself. I totally agree with your words in this post, and it’s a great work of systematization. Thank you.
Wanting to share with others some of the things I am learning myself in order to improve my relationship with myself, as na act of gratitude to all the people who helped me learn something I started a sort of biographical self-help blog myself, after a sad life changing situation it is http://realandfantastic.blogspot.pt/

Thank you for your great blog!

shawn branch September 5, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I agree with everyone of your points!

Dana Lightman October 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Just tootling around your wonderful blog and this post caught my fancy. My intention for today: to put #6 and #15 into practice all day.

Social Natural October 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

It’s funny how people the world could use more kindness, but it’s the people who are not this saying this. Kindness starts with the individual. Whether walking to work or riding on the bus, a little share of kindness is contagious and can go a long way in making other’s day swell. This just reminds me of htat Coca-Cola commerical.

steve werner October 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Wonderful post.

I told a friend this morning how tough I am on myself.

He reminded me how kind I am to the rest of the world.

Thanks for the tips!!

sw

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