Every year, November 13th marks an important day on the calendar. World Kindness Day, a day celebrated around the world to honour the importance of being kind to yourself and others.

How can you make World Kindness Day count this year? And how can kindness be part of the rest of your year, too?

Why be kind?

It's official, being kind is good for us and is said to significantly improve our mental and emotional health.

A study found that we don't just feel happier when being of service to others, we feel more satisfied with the lives we have. And it's infectious. The researchers found that one good deed inspired another.

How to Make World Kindness Day Count

With that in mind, here’s how you can spread a little extra kindness this World Kindness Day…

1. Pay it forward.

Random acts of kindness can be small, you don’t have to make a grand gesture for it to count. You could compliment a stranger on their shoes or outfit, pay for the next person in line at a café, or give someone a small gift to say thanks.

Kindness is something you can easily work into your day by spotting small opportunities to be of service to others.

2. Express yourself.

When was the last time you told someone close to you just how much they mean to you? Or complimented them on their unique talents and abilities? Doing so won’t just make the recipient feel good, but will improve your mood too.

You could let a friend know how much you love their sense of humour, thank a family member for supporting you through good times and bad, or let a close colleague know how much they inspire you. Imagine just how good you’d feel if someone said these things to you!

3. Practice the art of self-compassion.

Often we find it easier to extend the hand of kindness to others while neglecting to be kind to ourselves. This World Kindness Day make it your mission to be loving and compassionate towards yourself, too.

You could pay yourself a compliment, take a moment to recognise your accomplishments or organise an evening of relaxation. Taking the time to look out for number one can help foster a positive self-image.

4. Make a donation.

World Kindness Day is an opportunity to give back, whether it’s by supporting a friend who’s running a 10K for a good cause, or by making a small donation to your favourite charity. You could even put an extra few coins in the tip jar when you’re out to eat or give away some of your old clothes.

A study published in 2017 found that people who give are happier than those who don’t.

Give because it feels good

Being kind to yourself and others can be one of the most joyful things you can do. And you never know just how much a person needs it. So this World Kindness Day, commit to being kind to the people you meet.

You don’t need bags of cash or an elaborate plan to improve someone’s day, even a warm smile can make a difference.

Struggle to be kind to yourself and others? Depression and anxiety can get in the way for the best of us. Why not book a therapist today and start finding your way back to feeling connected?

Victoria Stokes is a Belfast-based writer who likes all things personal development, as well as espresso martinis and the colour pink.

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