Kind, it sounds easy enough right? Being kind to each other is easy in theory, in principle, and is even easy when the stars are aligned and we are feeling good. Kindness however, tends to be one of the first attributes to disappear from a situation when we find ourselves stressed.
Stress can come in many different forms. We could be feeling physically unwell or even mentally drained from a long day at work. Emotions play a huge role in our stress levels. Perhaps you’ve had an argument with a spouse, your best friend, or your child. Even the simplest moments of realizing you are late for an appointment, cranks your stress meter up and your kindness meter down.
With the holiday season of shopping, sales, hustle and bustle kicking off this week, I was reminded that now more than ever, we need to keep our kindness meter in check. Being kind to others is a gift that keeps on giving. Both the giver of kindness and the receiver have the opportunity to elevate their experience and then share it with those around them. In other words, kindness is like the message in the Faberge Organics Shampoo commercial from the 1980’s. Google it! Trust me, it is a blast from the past but the message is clear.
How to be kind this holiday season:
- Smile. It is a simple as that. Even when the smile on your lips doesn’t match the feeling in you heart, smile anyway and you just might see your entire experience change for the better.
- Slow down. We already know that more people are going to be on the streets tackling their own “to do” list of the holiday season, so check yourself before you head out into the world, before you buckle that seat belt, and most certainly before you put your car in drive. Being in a hurry will impact you and everyone around you. So slow down, take it all in and leave enough time to get to where you are going.
- Be patient. This one applies to other people, situations, and yes even the sales clerk who is trying to do their job. Long lineups are the norm during the holidays, so make a new friend and chat with the person in front or behind you while you wait. That sales clerk, yeah he or she also has a long list of their own for the holidays, so take a breath and repeat the two steps from above.
- Be realistic. Over-scheduling is one of the biggest self induced stresses we experience during the holidays. Recognizing what is and isn’t possible ahead of time allows you to reduce the holiday stress. It also allows you the opportunity to be in the moment and enjoy whatever comes your way.
- Be thankful. Gratitude is one attitude that has the ability to change the state of any situation into a positive experience. Find the silver lining. Come on, you’re waiting in line for crying out loud, you have the time, so spend it wisely and look for something to be grateful for. I promise you will leave that situation feeling uplifted if you find something to be grateful for.
- Understand your role in the kindness loop. You are a part of the loop, the kindness loop. Take your responsibility seriously and your attitude, actions, thoughts, and beliefs, will help alter those who need a little bright light in an otherwise challenging time. Remember that silver lining? Why don’t you go out into the world and be the silver lining that others need. Sometimes, we just need to get out of our way to allow kindness to shine through.
Be a trailblazer of spectacular form this holiday season (especially on Black Friday) and start a kindness loop of your own.