Choosing Kindness: 8 Ways to Be Mindfully Kind

Choosing Kindness 8 Ways to be Mindfully Kind

What does Choosing Kindness mean?

Choosing kindness means to treat yourself and others with kindness, respect and generosity.

It is an intention to be considerate and friendly to yourself and others regardless of the situation or circumstance. 

How does Mindfulness Relate to Choosing Kindness?

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, without judgment. Choosing to be kind could be looked at in the same way. When we choose to be kind, we are making a decision in that present moment to be generous, compassionate and friendly, without judgment. 

Mindfulness and kindness both start with awareness. Being aware of how you are feeling in the moment, how others around you are feeling and what’s called for in that moment, are key. What moment doesn’t call for kindness? 

We’ll look at some ways you can choose to be mindfully kind in your daily life. But first, let’s explore the benefits of kindness and the science behind them. 

Know the Benefits of Kindness

As when making any new lifestyle change, identifying the benefits of the change is helpful. How will making mindful kindness a new habit or priority improve your quality of life? 

According to the article “Why Choose Kindness,” from Psychology Today, we get a “rush of positive feelings” when we are kind and helpful towards others. The article explains that the positive effects from performing acts of kindness include feeling connected to others, an increase in our life satisfaction, positive moods, acceptance and self-esteem. 

Think about the last time you went out of your way to do something kind for someone. Chances are you felt great all day. 

The Science behind Kindness Hormones

According to the School of Kindness, receiving kindness, giving kindness or even just witnessing kindness has positive effects on our physical and mental health. In addition, kindness is good for our heart health, slows aging and improves our relationships. 

Dopamine and oxytocin are two hormones which make us feel good, lift our moods and increase positive feelings. Giving or receiving kindness releases these hormones into our bodies, giving us warm, fuzzy feelings, which has positive effects on our health. Kindness also produces endorphins, which are the brain’s natural painkiller. 

Apparently, being kind has as many personal benefits as it does for the people on the receiving end of it. 

Choosing Kindness girl kneeling by dog holding his head

8 Ways to Be Mindfully Kind

  1. Self-Compassion
  2. Set an Intention Just for Today
  3. Positive Affirmations
  4. Volunteer Your Time
  5. Random Acts of Kindness 
  6. The Gratitude Effect
  7. Loving Kindness Meditation
  8. The World Can Be a Scary Place

Self-Compassion: “Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend”

The truth is, kindness starts at home, with you. If you are kind and compassionate to yourself, it’s much easier to pass it on to others. 

Dr. Kristen Neff is the pioneer of self-compassion. She is a psychologist who teaches that self-compassion is not about self-pity or self-indulgence. It’s about self-acceptance, embracing your flaws and treating yourself in a kinder, more gentle way. 

Self-compassion is about self-acceptance. It’s not about self-improvement, harsh judgment or criticism. Dr. Neff’s research shows that treating yourself in a nurturing way, with kindness and understanding, will increase your self-confidence and resilience, and make it easier to be compassionate with others. 

Want to learn more about self-compassion, do a quiz to see how self-compassionate you are or follow some guided meditations? Dr. Neff’s website is a great resource. 

Set an Intention Just for Today

Start with setting an intention to be kind, one day at a time, one moment at a time. When you wake up in the morning, set an intention to be kind to yourself and those around you just for today. 

This isn’t to say that you aren’t already a kind person, most likely you are. But setting an intention to be kind is a special way to be even kinder. Take kindness one step further by intentionally adding acts of generosity and friendliness to your day.

Feeling offended or slighted by someone? Take a deep breath and let it go. Most likely, the stranger that cut you off didn’t even realize they did it. By hanging onto that negative experience, you are only affecting your health and day. It’s not about being weak, it’s about recognizing when to choose your battles. 

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are a way to bring something you desire into your life. Reaffirming to the universe your needs and desires can manifest them into your life. Here’s a few affirmations to get you started:

  • I am kind
  • I am generous
  • I am compassionate
  • I am love
  • I love myself unconditionally
  • I am kind to others regardless of the circumstances

If you enjoy working with positive affirmations, please check out my blog posts: Affirmations for Self-Care and Affirmations for Self-Love. 

Volunteer Your Time 

Volunteer work is the ultimate show of kindness. Giving your time and energy to others in need is a great way to jumpstart those positive hormones and make everyone feel good. This is called “Helper’s High.”

Need help getting started? First, make a list of causes that you are passionate about. Next, search for volunteer opportunities on the internet and talk to friends. Once you get the word out there that you are available, opportunities will come flowing your way. 

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness are simple, nice things we can do for others, even strangers, without expecting anything in return. The positive feelings we get and give to others is our reward. If you receive an act of kindness, pay it forward to someone else!

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a website full of ideas for work, home and school and even shares kindness lesson plans. Here are some examples:

  • Spend time with an eldery person
  • Tip generously
  • Give a genuine compliment
  • Welcome a new neighbor
  • Bake someone a cake
  • Rake someone’s yard
  • Be a polite driver
  • Complain less
  • Write a letter to a loved one
  • Gift a book 
  • Tutor someone in need
  • Use a reusable water bottle 
  • Foster or adopt a pet 

The Gratitude Effect

Cultivating and practicing gratitude can have a ripple effect. To get started, put a gratitude practice into place, such as taking a few moments out of your day to be thankful for all the blessings in your life. This can be right before you get out of bed, at mealtimes or before you go to sleep at night. 

Once gratitude becomes a habit, the positivity and fulfillment it brings will start to accumulate. Gratitude creates joy. You will feel more satisfied with your life, and you will want to pass that happiness on. Use it to fuel your motivation to be kind to yourself and others. 

Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving kindness is a special kind of love that involves acts of kindness, universal connection and acceptance of yourself and others. It’s a quality of heart that embraces living without conflict while opening your heart to connect deeply with others. 

The most common way to practice is the loving kindness meditation, which involves creating a feeling of love in your heart by thinking of a loved one or loving memory. Then, you share this loving feeling with yourself, your family and friends, strangers, someone you are fighting with, nature, animals and even the world! 

Sharon Salzberg is one of the leaders in teaching this type of meditation. On mindful.org she shares an explanation of loving kindness and you’ll find a guided meditation.  

Spoiler alert: spending time giving love to yourself and others in this way is addicting and is a radical act of kindness! 

The World Can Be a Scary Place

The world can be a scary place, let’s be kind to each other! Let’s cause a wave of kindness that flows freely and multiplies, without expecting anything in return. Let’s model kindness for our kids and others and open our hearts to its rewards.  

In conclusion, there are many ways and reasons to be mindfully kind. Set an intention each day to be kind to yourself and those around you. Pay kindness forward and let yourself enjoy the warm fuzzies it creates in your life.  What if we all did our best to contribute to a world of kindness, love and compassion? 

Be Kind Sign hanging on fence with heart

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