Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Every Day Kindness

I joined Every Day Kindness last year to take part in small acts of kindness that could collectively add up to a big ol' world of kindness, one act at a time. When Claudia first created the Every Day Kindess site and invited bloggers to join in, I hesitated. How could my little acts of kindness make a difference? And besides, what if I couldn't commit to an act every day?

I didn't realize how easy it is to do simple things to help others out, make a person smile, give another person a break. Once I joined I started thinking about it more often. Every new situation I found myself in triggered the thought "What can I do?" I'm getting better at spontaneous acts now, but in the beginning it was tough to think of ways to be kind to others, whether they were people I knew or strangers. I hope this Thursday Thirteen will help others who are participating in Every Day Kindness.

13 Every Day Kindess Acts - Thursday Thirteen

1. Bring lunch to a co-worker. Ever notice the co-worker who always runs out to buy lunch or often dines from the vending machine? Dish an extra container of that spaghetti you made last night or take 5 minutes to whip up another sandwich. This is a simple way of taking care of another.

2. Slip an anoynomous card. Make a handmade card or spring for one at the nearest Hallmark. A note to a friend that says "Thanks for being there" or a "Thinking of You" card sent to your grandparents would really make their day.

3. Do a chore your husband or wife normally does and do it without broadcasting it. Step into the kitchen to wash the dishes before the other does. Take a few minutes and a little exercise to scrub the tub or run the trash out before they get to it. An unexpected helping hand is a beautiful thing.

4. Let a fellow driver out in traffic. I do this one often. In congested cities (like mine) it could take five to ten minutes just to get into the flow of traffic. Flash your lights, wave, and let someone in front of you. Think of all the times you were running late and swore at every person who didn't let you in line. Now help prevent someone else from having that kind of morning.

5. Smile and smile like crazy. I've gotten into the habit of smiling at random people in random places. My favorite place to do this is the grocery store, and in particular, at elderly people. They're less likely to think you're crazy or want something. Just a quick flash of your pearly whites can be addictive. Just do it. See if you can make someone else mirror your smile. It can brighten another's mood and yours as well.

6. Five minutes of silence. This is something I also practice on occassion, especially when I'm stressed out. Instead of spouting off the first thing that comes to your mind in a stressful situation or heated moment, step away. Allow yourself five minutes to calm down and decide if the situation is worth getting your blood pressure up over. It can also prevent you from hurting someone's feelings. Think about it and come back to the situation with a calmer, clearer perspective.

7. Baked goods! Who doesn't love sweets? While you're picking up the cinnamon rolls for breakfast at your local grocery, reach over and grab a roll of cookie dough while you're at it. Bring cookies to initiate a probably well-needed group break at work or to your neighbor or parents just because. Sweets can brighten even the grumpiest faces.

8. Answer the call. Sure, you may not feel like talking to your always-depressed friend or your grandpa about his fishing trip, but they called you for a reason. Take ten minutes out of your busy day to plop on your couch and lend a ear. Too antsy or not enough time? Tell the person kindly that you only have a few minutes to talk but are glad they called. People just need to be heard. Hopefully the next time you need an ear one will be there for you too.

9. Tell your loved one its "their day". Lend yourself fully to them for the day and be their partner-in-crime on whatever their heart's desire. Go to the ball game even though you aren't a sports fan, take her to the boutique she's been wanting to visit, go see that action film he's been talking about, or help her make lunch for a picnic. In this busy day and age, its not often we get a day to ourselves. Having someone else say "Hey, its okay. Let's do this together," releases a bit of the guilt that may creep up knowing the to-do list we have waiting at home.

10. Say thank you. Seems simple, right? How many times have you gone through the post office or grocery store where the clerk doesn't thank you? Kind of bums you out doesn't it? Makes you snarl a little, huh? Say thank you. On the phone when a receptionist takes your message or to your bank teller. To your spouse when he or she cooks dinner or picks up the dry cleaning. Its polite and it will make someone feel appreciated.

11. Hold the door. For anyone and everyone, male, female, young, old - its just a kind thing to do. While your at it, throw in a smile. Hey, two acts in one. You're a pro now. :)

12. Help the elderly. This is such a simple act that not only will brighten their day, but it will reflect on your mood because you're doing something kind and/or helpful for someone who may not have a support group or family nearby. Examples? Pull the empty garbage cans in for Mrs. Smith two houses over or bring the paper to her door when you can. Take over a home cooked meal. Just stop by once a week to say hi or give them a call to see if they need anything. You could save them a trip to the grocery for two measly items when you're going there anyway. Knowing they have a friendly, helpful neighbor can be comforting.

13. Be kind to yourself. This I cannot stress enough. Since I've joined Every Day Kindness, I notice that I'm taking better care of myself. I exercise but in a more pleasurable way like nice long walks in the evenings. When my to-do list becomes too full, I scratch the not so important items off and sit down on my couch with a good book and a glass of wine. I focus on nutrition so that my body will be nutured and work the way I need it to. I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep a night and have learned to say no to people. Being kind to yourself will make you a better friend, daughter, husband, mother, lover and make it easier to be kind to others.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


On a limb with Claudia said...

Hurray for Jill! Make sure to put your link at Thursday and you're all set! Welcome to TTs! And congratulations on incorporating a little kindness into your life.

Whoo hoo!!

Christie O. said...

those are great!!! i try to do a lot of those too. it's amazing how much a small gesture will mean to someone. another thing i like to do is when someone is going through something, (surgery, birth, loss) take them homemade food and lots of it, they never have time to cook for themselves and fast food just gets grody after a while! someone did this for me once when my mom was sick quite a few years ago and i still remember how much it meant to be able to sit down and have a meal. i guess i try to pay it forward.

Adelle said...

Wise words. Happy T13!

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I'll certainly be kind to myself.

All the other advices are rubbish.

I'm not sharing my food with anybody!

Oh, I also let people in my lane when driving. I hold doors for others. I smile at everybody, even when I'm giving them the finger.

Hey, now that I think about it, this isn't rubbish at all. Great job, Jillionaire!

Nicholas said...

Very good list. A lot of that we should know already, but thank you for reminding us.

Kitty said...

A great list Jill - good for you. I also find elderly people really appreciate a smile or offer of help. x

kelly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jason said...

my sweetness..........

manoellimoeiro544 said...

Amiga is a pleasure to access the blog. I pernambucano, and wish you success in your blog. An embrace of Manoel Limoeiro do Recife, PE.
Recife-PE., April 10, 2008. Thursday.

Polgara said...

I think its worth promoting, your stuff is great!
Pol :0)

Steph said...

You are such a sweetheart! I'd love to be kind, I just don't have it in me. LOL I'm KIDDING!!!!

Ben said...

Hold the door is a good one, I like that. Nice list Jillie and enjoy the sweets.


Nicey said...

Agreed, more hapiness in the world is whats required, and smiling is a good start - its also infectious, count me in !!!

Ari said...

A smashing list!

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