Explore the good: Finding kindness in an unkind world
Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day by opening yourself up to the kindness happening every day
The world doesn’t always feel like a kind place to be, and for many of us, the last 12 months have felt especially unkind. Recognising that and determined to shift the mood, this year’s Random Acts of Kindness Day theme is ‘explore the good’.
“In 2021, we encourage everyone to Explore the Good and Make Kindness the Norm. Stories come to us on a daily basis. They are beautiful and heartwarming, but mostly they give us hope.
“We hear of seemingly insignificant moments where a stranger helps another stranger and impacts the rest of their life with a small gesture. When we tune into kindness happening around us, the day seems a little bit brighter. The week seems a little more manageable.”
Even during trying times, wonderful acts of kindness are happening. And in hopes of spreading some of this joy, here are some of the small but beautiful moments that have made a difference to you during lockdown.
Vicky Charalampidou got a nudge to launch her business
“I'd been thinking of setting up my own business for a while and then, one day, during lockdown, my husband sent me the Virgin startups business plan template.
“That was last April. My business plan got approved last July and my business was launched right before Christmas. None of this would have ever been possible without his support and it all began with what felt like a random act: handing me a business plan template!”
Ruth Barrett’s friend gave her and her husband the honeymoon they missed
“When our honeymoon was cancelled my incredible friend sent us everything to recreate the tropical feel at home, including leis, snazzy party straws, hula skirts and cocktail making kits. It was a small thing that made a big difference to us.”
Sheila Morgan found warmth in an act of kindness on a cold day
“Last week the local car wash was frozen. My car was in a state due to being splattered in mud by a very large tractor. Even the roof was covered. An employee at the petrol station used his work card and insisted on thoroughly hosing down and washing my car. He would not accept any payment or even a coffee (it was -3 degrees). He said his reward was seeing someone smile.”
An act of kindness from Jessamine Hislop’s friend helped when times got tough
“It has been a super tough year when business stopped for the events industry, and as a solo mum to five, it has been tough to keep going and stay positive. However, recently a fellow business owner dropped off a wellbeing/self-care treat which really lifted my spirits and made me find my fight again. Totally random and out of the blue.”
Kirsteen Macpherson Bardell’s friends stepped in when Coronavirus took over
“My family caught Coronavirus in January and my friends really helped us so much. They left bags of food and treats on the doorstep, put extra ibuprofen through the letterbox, and one of my friends even came over in the snow with home-cooked meals when we started to recover so that we didn't have to cook. My extended family live far away so I'm so lucky to have my amazing friends nearby.”
The good is out there, there’s no doubt about that. But we appreciate it can sometimes be hard to spot, so how exactly can we tune ourselves into it?
How to explore the good
Follow positive news outlets
Media outlets can be a breeding ground for negativity, often relying on fear as a tactic to keep people engaged. While, of course, it is important to stay informed, limiting your news intake and finding more positive outlets to follow for balance can help.
Take a look at who you’re following news-wise and on social media and try to bulk up on the positive outlets/organisations. We love Positive News, Action for Happiness and the Good News Network.
Start a gratitude practice
The simple practice of noting what you’re grateful for may sound simple, but it has extraordinary effects from reducing stress to improving resilience. Try writing down one thing you're grateful for every day on a piece of paper and add it to an empty jar. When you next feel a little hopeless, reach into the jar and remind yourself of something good in your life.
Savouring is a technique that helps to amplify the positive moments of your life and is linked to increase happiness. There are lots of different ways to savour moments, including sharing it with others, immersing yourself in the senses you’re experiencing and temporal awareness. Temporal awareness is when you recognise that time is fleeting and can help you enjoy moments that might otherwise pass by unnoticed.
In this video, Gretchen Rubin shares how temporal awareness helped her appreciate her bus rides with her daughter.
Create an evidence bank
Because our brains have a negativity bias, we naturally focus on the negative more than the positive. This means we need to be intentional about noticing the good. One way to do this is to start an evidence bank - a photo album on your phone where you save pictures or screenshots of things that make you smile. It might be the cute baby picture your friend sent over or a screenshot of an uplifting news story. Storing these up means you can come back to it when the world feels unkind.
Things aren’t easy at the moment, but hope is in sight and if we can take the time to be kind to others and explore the good in our everyday lives, we’re sure things will start to feel easier.
If you’re struggling, however, there’s no shame in asking for help. If you think you would benefit from professional help, you can visit Counselling Directory to find emotional support online or near you.