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Using kindness to cope with down times

Sarah standing in a snowy field wearing pink trousers, black jacket and black woolly hat

The end of the year seems to split people into 2 groups with different ways to cope as we head through autumn and into winter. Some people love the shorter days and darker evenings, loving the whole hygge vibe, snuggly jumpers and hot chocolate. Others find the shorter daylight hours and colder weather put them low.

I myself am more towards the second group, although I do like cold days if they are also bright and crisp instead of dank and gloomy.

But don’t despair if you also fall into that second group. If we know something is tricky, we have a better chance of doing something about it. We can find our own ways to be resilient and keep our chins up in difficult times.

This year I’d like to suggest that you add kindness to your list of coping mechanisms for autumn and winter. It’s a great source of positivity and hope, something which is particularly welcome at this point in the year.

There are two aspects to kindness that I think are especially helpful just now. One is carrying out acts of kindness yourself and the second one is noticing the kind things that other people are doing.

Being kind

Think about the last time you did something kind and remember how that made you feel. Just the other day I gave someone directions. Seeing the delight on their face that they were no longer lost made me feel pleased too.

As well as knowing this impact anecdotally, there is an increasing body of scientific research that shows that being kind has positive effects on your physical and mental health. When you help a neighbour carry their shopping from the car or let someone in front of you in a queue, you are getting a boost of positive chemicals in your brain.

Seeing kindness around you

Every day, people all around us are quietly getting on with being kind to others, not making a fuss, just doing it. A really easy way to give yourself hope and positivity is to make the effort to notice what’s happening. We have to make a conscious decision to do this because so much of the news we consume is negative.

But once we have decided there is a different way, we can see what the majority of people are really like. In the last few days, I have spotted:

  • Someone helping a neighbour to take their bins in after they had been emptied
  • Someone posting a supportive comment on social media (actually, I see this one a lot, directly opposite to the reputation that social media has)
  • Someone giving up their seat on the bus to a man on crutches.

All of these things have made me smile and given me hope.

Over to you

So why not give it a try yourself this end of the year?

Do something kind.

Make a deliberate choice to see kindness around you.

And if you’re feeling particularly keen to make the positive impact last as long as possible, why not tell someone else about what you have done or what you have seen? We need more conversations about kindness and the connection you get through the conversation will help you too.

Please get in touch to tell me what you see and do.

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