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It's the time of year when gratitude is a big focus for a lot of us, but it's important to put this theme into practice all year long. Kindness.org shared five tips to help you practice gratitude in your day-to-day life, not just around the holidays.
The not-so-secret benefit to practicing gratitude? You will feel better and happier too!
1. Thank someone publicly on social media.
Do you wish your social feeds were filled with more positivity? Use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to let someone know you’re grateful for them and brighten their day. Cyber-kindness can have a large scale impact and start a wave of positive social change. (Remember the ice-bucket challenge?) One small act on social has the power to reach far beyond the person receiving the act, and can inspire others to do the same.
2. Greet someone by their name.
Even when we know people’s names, why do we go for days without using them? By using someone’s name, you help them feel seen and acknowledged — and that’s an act of kindness. According to kindness.org’s research in collaboration with the University of Oxford, doing a kind act increases happiness, well-being, trust and compassion. And it can have the same powerful effect on those who receive the act. Try it, and put a smile on both your faces.
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3. Take five minutes for yourself.
Feel like you don’t have the budget or time for self-care? Self-care is a practice that anyone can do — and it’s also an act of kindness. Kindness.org’s 7 days of intentional kindness study showed that kindness to family and friends, strangers and self had equally positive effects on well-being and positive social emotions. Take five minutes each day to call your own, and use the space to remind yourself that you matter.
4. Ask a stranger about their day.
Spend part of your lunch hour in line? Put yourself in the shoes of the barista or cashier helping you and take the opportunity to ask them how they’re doing. According to a kindness.org study in collaboration with the University of Oxford, witnessing kind acts also boosts well-being. Extending kindness to service workers in a public place can impact the mood of everyone around you — and spark more kind acts.
5. Treat yourself — and a friend!
Feeling grumpy? Grab a coffee or snack, but don’t stop there. Pay it forward to the next person in line, or bring back an extra treat to share. According to kindness.org’s collaboration with Oxford researchers, kindness is an action, not a feeling. Grumpy people can do it. Even grinches can do it. And since kindness boosts well-being and happiness, your grumpy or grinchy heart may just grow a few sizes as a result.
Kindness.org is a nonprofit whose mission is to educate and inspire people to choose kindness through scientific research, education and storytelling.