Jaime Thurston is founder and CEO of the global kindness charity, 52 Lives, which changes 1 person’s life every week of the year. Jaime believes that kindness has the power to improve our minds, our bodies and ultimately change the world.
Jaime shares some tips based on her latest book – ‘Kindness – the little thing that matters most’.
1. Be kind to unkind people (they need it the most)
When someone is unkind, it’s tempting to stoop to their level. But being unkind, or being around unkindness, brings us down. So choose to be kind, even when those around you aren’t. It can change people’s attitudes and help them to see the world as a lovely place again.
2. Stop comparing yourself
Deciding you’re better or worse than someone else isn’t being kind to them and it’s certainly not being kind to yourself. Studies have shown that whether we are perceiving ourselves to be better or worse, the end result is the same – comparison makes us unhappier. Comparison will consume your thoughts and steal your joy. Opt for kindness and happiness instead.
3. Go high
Michelle Obama famously said ‘When they go low, we go high.’ Next time you find yourself in a toxic situation (with people who are overly negative or gossipy) try to be the person that goes high.
It will boost your feel-good brain chemicals and you might even convert a few negative people along the way.
4. Be present
Multi-tasking has become the norm for many of us – how often do you keep one eye on your phone while spending time with someone…or worse still, sit and scroll through your news feed instead of talking to the person you’re with? It’s an addiction, it’s unkind, and it’s harmful to our well-being. Giving someone your full attention is a simple way to show love and it’s one of the kindest things you can give.
We all have bad days, and sometimes we take it out on the people in our lives, whether it’s a loved one, or a complete stranger. When this happens, be courageous – go back and apologise. Saying sorry does more than remedy a past mistake – it builds a human connection by showing vulnerability and honesty.
6. Hug with heart
When you hug someone, make it count. My children call them hug with hearts – proper, big, hearts-pressed-together squeezes. Hugging gets oxytocin flowing, improves our cardiovascular health, and ultimately makes us happier and healthier.
7. Take the initiative
Sometimes people who need help might be too shy or too proud to ask for it. So if you think someone could do with a hand, don’t wait to be asked. Offer to carry a pram up the stairs, carry someone’s tray if their hands are full – it doesn’t matter if they decline. A kind offer is never wasted.
‘Kindness – the little thing that matters most’ is available on Amazon here or from most high street book shops.