It was 10am on a Monday morning and I had barely gotten into the momentum. It was unusual that I was struggling to get work done because Mondays are my favourite days.
Featured Image: Betterhealth.vic.gov.au
I received an unexpected text from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in years. When you get messages from a friend you hadn’t kept in contact with for more than decade, it could either mean good news or spell bad news. And that day, it was the latter that reconnected us, and many others.
A mutual friend had taken her on life that morning.
That evening, more than 20 of us gathered for the first time since we left our primary school. We reunited at the funeral of a friend who probably never imagined she’d see us again – only she was no longer at the table with us, partaking in conversations with spunk and attitude no else could compare with.
I knew she had been suffering from depression for a long time but I never knew she was clinically diagnosed and was actively undergoing treatment. She never came across as someone who’d give up on herself even if she did the world. But I guess you never really know.
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And truth is, we never know. And because we never know, we should always, always be kind to others. (Here’s a gentle reminder that research has shown being kind to others makes you happy. All the more reason to be kind!)
Smile more often
Every morning as I walk into office, I notice just how many people wear a frown as they make their way to work and I wonder to myself just how depressing is it to be greeted by sulky faces every morning. So I smile, and I smile even wider when I see familiar faces in the office.
Try walking down a corridor at work and smile all the way there. You might be surprised at how many smiles you get back. It is infectious!
Pay it forward
…with your small change! When I get my morning cuppa, I get 40 cents change. I have two choices here – accumulate over the days and pay my next cup with all that small change or pay part of someone’s morning coffee every day. The latter is hardly enticing but what’s rewarding is knowing your small act of kindness puts a smile on someone else’s face.
Express your gratitude
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I like to start my day with good vibes so I do my thank-you ritual during my morning shower. Every day, I say thank you for something different. When you start finding something different to be grateful for every day, you’ll realise it’s a non-exhaustive list!
Saying thank you, especially for the small things, is like the oil that lubricates the engine of human interaction. People not only appreciate it but also feel appreciated.
Call a friend
I know, using the phone sounds like an antiquated idea especially when all we’ve been talking about is the digital age. But a phone call is a much more intimate way of connecting with someone. Instead of engaging in conversations over inanimate text messages, phone a friend and let him/her hear your voice. It’s always a nice surprise to know someone’s thinking of you not just in words but you can actually hear their thoughts as well.
Sometimes, listening is the kindest thing you can do for someone. Listening is easy and requires almost no effort. Just listen and not interrupt with advice. In fact, you’re not expected to gush out advice. Sit down and listen intently, and know that if someone’s ranting to you, it’s because they trust you.
Hold the door
It’s the essence of politeness that puts a smile on someone else’s face. Regardless of who the person is, hold the door.
I know we may not be the most affectionate or “touchy” people, and we’re not accustomed to hugs and pats-on-the-back but you have to show the people you love that you really mean it. And it means showing affection through action – perhaps give a co-worker a pat on the back or hug your parents/spouse/children before leaving house in the morning! All these small actions carry huge meaning for the people on the receiving end.
Compliment someone every day
Admit it, we love it when someone compliments us. (Note: it does not have to be work-related.) Perhaps then it’s not surprising at all that everyone appreciates a little compliment every now and then. Spot a nice dress on your colleague? Let her know! Notice how neat your tablemate is? There’s good reason to let him know.
Think of the times you felt down and a random compliment picked you back up! It’s so simple but going out of your way to lift someone else up can be the most rewarding thing of your day.
These simple acts of kindness will surely make someone’s day. Being kind is not just about making someone else happy; it is also about making oneself happy by reaping the benefits of spreading happy vibes around. It’s infectious; and once you start, you’ll realise it’s nearly impossible to stop.