It is that unquantifiable term that has no material value but means the world to any individual on the receiving end of it. So on National Kindness Day, we’re taking a leaf out of Bernadettte Russell’s book and considering the very real impact a little kindness can have on our lives.
The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell is very much a guide of practical tips, ideas and interactive exercises to encourage kindness in everyday life. Her hypothesis is that if you practice kindness it improves your experience of the world and reaps dividends.
“most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves”
The starting point for her book is to be kind to yourself – an idea that sounds so simple and yet by her own volition is hard to achieve: “most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves” she says succinctly. The book takes into consideration the emphasis we place on our own appearance regarding self worth, following on to our achievements and providing quick fire exercises to improve our sense of wellbeing through acts of kindness.
The book continues with thoughts on how to be kind to loved ones, friends, family, strangers, employees and colleagues. It takes into consideration how to be kind online, a space which has definitely become known as a forum for negative interactions, and a platform that many app developers are looking to change with the creation of the likes of NiceBot, ReThink and Kwirk.
Feel good acts, allowing yourself to say no to things, spending time with friends and relatives – crucially none of the ideas that Russell highlights are particularly difficult to achieve. A lot of it simply focuses around a mindful attitude towards daily tasks and endeavours – something that’s infinitely more achievable when we create headspace in which we can think a little more clearly.
“Ask someone how they are and give them your undivided attention, paying no attention to the clock”
Amongst the suggestions such as joining the organ donor register and helping people with things they need support on like writing a CV or doing the gardening, perhaps the overriding message is to simply give people time. Herein lies the ultimate act of kindness both for ourselves and others.
The book concludes: “listen. Talk, Ask someone how they are and give them your undivided attention, paying no attention to the clock” – who could possibly argue with that?
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