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Why Kindness is the Best Gift this Holiday Period

kindness and your mental health
Wrap the holidays up with kindness this year. Image: Getty Images

The end of the year holiday period can bring up a range of emotions. Whilst for some, the holidays bring joy and connection, it can also be a challenging time where people may feel lonely, sad or overwhelmed. A scientifically proven way to improve your wellbeing at this time of year is to practice kindness – both towards yourself and others. Kindness is a gift that is free and benefits everyone!   

So … what is kindness?  

Kindness involves voluntarily doing something that is helpful to others, or to yourself. Acts of kindness are driven by a desire to be considerate, friendly and generous 

Being kind doesn’t mean being selfless. In fact, without being kind to yourself, it can become difficult to practice kindness towards others without feeling exhausted. Starting with acts of kindness towards yourself is a great first step towards improving your wellbeing. Being kind to yourself may not come easily at first, but it is a skill that can be learnt and strengthened over time.   

Some ways in which you can practise acts of kindness towards yourself include: 

  • Engaging in compassionate self-talk (rather than criticising yourself, see if you can respond to yourself with the kindness you’d extend to a friend or loved one) 
  • Making time each day to do something small that’s just for you (enjoy a cup of tea, get outside for a walk in the sunshine, write down positive qualities you see in yourself or compliments you receive from others) 
  • Setting boundaries that prioritise your own wellbeing (for more tips check out our blog on setting boundaries in the holiday season here) 

The benefits of kindness  

Research has found that kindness is closely connected to mental health and wellbeing. When we practice acts of kindness, the benefits can include: 

  • Improved mood 
  • Improved self-esteem  
  • Increased happiness 
  • Reduced levels of stress 

Acts of kindness also connect us to one another. They encourage us to reach out and socialise, and can strengthen our sense of belonging. In this way, kindness reduces isolation and loneliness. This is particularly important during the holiday season, when loneliness can be a challenge for many. 

random_acts_kindness

The Kindness Contagion  

Kindness is very contagious! When we do a kind act for another person, this spreads joy and often drives others to be kind in return. Like tossing a pebble into the water – one kind act can create a ripple effect that spreads far and wide. There are many random acts of kindness that you could consider doing for others this holiday period. At THIS WAY UP, we encourage you to try some of these: 

  • Listen to others without distractions  
  • Donate old clothing or goods  
  • Put rubbish in the bin if you see it on the street 
  • Offer your seat to someone on public transport  
  • Reconnect with an old friend 
  • Give a stranger a compliment  
  • Volunteer your time to help others  

So this holiday period, take some time to practice kindness when you can – both towards yourself and others. You can get some inspiration from our free ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ chatterbox game (free download here) and play this with another person to start spreading some kindness around!  

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