In the last blog we took a brief look at how it could change our working environment if we included ‘random acts of kindness’ as part of our daily routine. This time we will take this idea a bit further and introduce the idea of the Kindness Formula.
The Kindness Formula goes like this:
Make it a habit to do at least three kinds things every day:
- One for yourself
- One for someone you know
- One for a stranger
Having a formula helps us to make kindness a habit and to think more deeply about how we wish to express it. If you find doing three every day too much to begin with, then spread them over a week and build up as the habit gets stronger.
Kindness for yourself
In an earlier blog we looked at ways to take better care of ourselves at work. These included taking exercise, seeing friends more frequently and changing our routine from time to time. These are all effective ways of being kind to oneself. Often we overlook this part—it is so easy to forget to pay attention to taking real care of ourselves as we hurry through our day, trying to fulfil our responsibilities. When we get over-tired and stressed it is much harder to show kindness to anyone at all and so we can see kindness for ourselves as an investment that will help others also. One of the very best ways to show kindness to oneself is to make time each day to practice meditation. Even a five minutes session every morning can help to set us up with a little more space and quietness with which to face the day.
Kindness for someone you know
Ironically it can be the people closest to us that feel it most acutely when we are stressed, or in a hurry. Perhaps it might be a nice idea to surprise the family by doing something unexpected such as bringing everyone morning tea in bed, or making pancakes for tea. Just as it helps us to change routine, it will help the family also.
Making an unexpected phone call to a friend who lives at a distance could help to lift their day. Sending a thank-you note people who had you to dinner, or sending flowers to celebrate an exam result will all bring happiness both to you and to the people who are receiving them.
None of the actions need to be big, or unusual but it takes a moment of being aware to remember how doing a small act of kindness can have big positive effect.
Kindness for a stranger
Spotting a parking meter that is about to expire and dropping in a few coins to save the driver a ticket is a great way to do something kind for a stranger. Next time you buy a take-away coffee try paying for the drink the person behind you is buying. At a Starbucks in the US they once had this happen for more than nine straight hours—each person passing on the gift they received themselves.
Something I like to do in the supermarket—when I have to grapple to the back of a shelf to get at a packet, or tin then I pull forward the next one so the person coming after me can see that there is still one left and they don’t have to struggle to get it out.
Simple things like opening doors for people, standing aside to let them pass, offering them to go ahead of you in a queue are easy to do and can change someone’s day.
If you feel like trying out the Kindness Formula then do post and let us know what your tried and how it turned out. We could compile a list for what works best.