What are 'acts of kindness'?

Categories: School of Health and Society

In this article for Random Acts of Kindness Day, Elaine explores the meaning of 'acts of kindness', using excerpts from the book.

Elaine says: “If you look up the word ‘kindness’, you’ll probably find something about ‘the quality or act of being helpful, caring, considerate, generous, gentle and thoughtful’. So, we can say that kindness is:

•    Caring for ourselves and other people
•    Doing things that are helpful and improve the wellbeing of ourselves and others
•    Being considerate of our own needs and the needs of other people
•    Being gentle, patient and tolerant of ourselves and others

“It’s common for us to show more kindness to others, than we show to ourselves. However, learning to be kind to ourselves can boost wellbeing. If you’re kind to yourself (and therefore less critical) you’re likely to:

•    Feel more confident
•    Do the things you’ve always wanted to do
•    Be more assertive and stick up for what you believe in
•    Challenge yourself
•    Learn from your mistakes (rather than avoid making them)
•    Experience less anxiety, low mood and/or frustration

“Even small acts of kindness can boost your mood and being kind to others also makes us feel good too. Here are a few examples of how we can show ourselves and other people kindness:

•    Cook a healthy meal for yourself
•    Smile and say hello to somebody
•    Be mindful of how much sleep you need
•    Send a nice text message to somebody who is sad or struggling
•    Look in the mirror and say something kind to yourself
•    Practice mindfulness
•    Write a note to yourself about three things you are grateful for
•    Say well done to somebody who has done a good job
•    Give yourself and somebody else a compliment
•    Say thank you to somebody who has done something for you

“There are a number of techniques and skills you can practice that can help you tone up your kindness skills. We created the K.I.N.D.N.E.S.S mnemonic for people to use as a reminder to be kind to themselves and others. The memory aid is a prompt to help people focus on the key (kindness) ingredients that help build and maintain physical and mental health. The "kindness ingredients" are:

•    Keep learning
•    Interact
•    Notice
•    Decide
•    Nurture
•    Exercise
•    Self-care
•    Support others

“The Kindness Workbook explores each of these key kindness ingredients further. There are a variety of eye-catching illustrations, creative exercises, interactive worksheets and examples in the book, which all aim to boost wellbeing and help you value your true self.”

Don’t forget, you could win your own signed copy of The Kindness Workbook! To enter, send us a tweet to let us know how you are going to show kindness to yourself or someone else to mark Random Acts of Kindness Day. Make sure you tag @UoS_HealthSoc in your post! The competition is open to University of Salford colleagues and students until Monday 27 February 2023 and the winner will be announced week commencing Monday 6 March 2023

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.