The world is moving faster than ever before. Many of us are incredibly busy and beyond tired, so much so that it can sometimes be deemed the norm to get annoyed at someone simply because they accidentally bumped into us.
But there should be no excuse for rudeness. All of us are on the same journey in life and won't be here forever. With that in mind, it should be of the utmost importance to make the world a happier place by trying to spread that feeling to others through the simple act of kindness.
Here are 10 easy ways you can do this.
1. Engage with homeless people
Whether you like to admit it or not, you probably ignore homeless people every day of the week. And if you're living in a big city, the homeless problem is only likely to increase and become more visible.
This alone should encourage you to engage with them and take an interest in them. Have you ever walked up to a homeless person and handed them a warm coffee and asked them about their day? Or asked how they ended up homeless? Believe it or not, not every homeless person is a drug addict or an ex-con. And even if they are, that shouldn't stop you treating them like human beings.
2. Compliment someone and mean it
So much of what we deem to be complimentary is riddled with fakery. While you may not know it, saying your partner looks nice without actually processing what they are wearing or how they look will come across as careless and insincere. The same can be said for relationships in the office. Do you really mean "good job" when your boss tells you of a successful meeting? Or are you just saying that because it's expected?
These things are all understandable to some degree, which is why complimenting someone with genuine sincerity is much-needed. Look around and really take in your surroundings and then see what you like the look of. If you think the barista at your coffee shop doesn't get enough credit, then tell them what a fantastic job they're doing.
3. Introduce yourself to neighbors
As society becomes increasingly less trusting, it's understandable that many residents are becoming wary of their closest neighbors. However, if you're new to the area, or have just never gotten round to introducing yourself, then why not start today?
You could even go over with a tin of cookies and simply explain who you are and ask them about themselves and that you're happy to be living in such a nice community. These random acts of kindness might not feel life-changing, but they'll certainly make a difference to the person you've spoken to.
4. Smile at a stranger
Smiling at a stranger can be terrifying- especially if you live in a big city where human interaction with strangers is typically kept to a minimum. But don't let such a stoic environment stop you from spreading your kindness. While they might be afraid at first, a genuine smile will most likely brighten up that person's day in more ways than you'd imagine.
It can be quite nervy and intimidating if you're not used to interacting with strangers, but once you smile at one stranger, you'll start to realize that we are all human beings simply wanting to feel appreciated.
5. Spend a night with your grandparent/s
Visiting grandparents is often seen as a chor until they’re gone. As they get older, they are even more likely to be left alone, so going up to see them can make the world of difference.
In many countries, there is a loneliness epidemic, particularly among senior citizens, so look out for your grandparents and do your best to ensure that they aren't being left behind and forgotten.
6. Wash up the dishes, no matter whose they are
We've all had arguments with families and spouses about whose turn it is to wash up, especially when the dishes aren't ours. But let go of this. Pointing the blame at someone else won't solve anything so do them yourself.
While you don't want to make a habit of washing up someone else's mess all the time, it's important to let go of blame. And this goes for other things too. If you can solve the problem by doing it yourself and not pinning the blame on the person you think should have done the task, you'll learn to let go of the little annoyances in life that aren't worth arguing over.
7. Give up your seat on the subway
This should go without saying. If you see a senior, a pregnant woman, or a struggling mother with loads of children, it's best to give that seat up as they are more in need of it than you are. In some countries, this isn't custom the way it is in others, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
Some people feel they have a right to that seat simply because they got there first. If you have that mindset, then remember that others need it more than you, and you will be appreciated and respected if you give it up to those in need.
8. Donate to a charity
You don't have to donate your entire salary. But donating a fraction of your salary- even if it isn't very much- can make all the difference. If you care about cancer research, then why not set up a standing order for a monthly donation? Whatever you feel strongly about, donating towards the cause will make you feel better about yourself as you'll feel you're doing something about the problems that dominate this world instead of being a helpless bystander.
After all, what else are you going to spend your spare income on? Clothes? Drinks? Ubers? Donating doesn't have to mean sacrificing food, but it could very well mean spending less on the things you don't need and more on the things that help the wider world.
9. Say thank you and please
In some countries, saying thank you and please is deemed an essential part of being a polite, well-rounded human being. Just take Britain. While many mock them for being overbearingly polite, most have been raised to say thank you and please in all situations, be it when they are being served at a supermarket to asking their friends to pass them the salt at the dinner table.
So next time you're being served at a restaurant, remember your ps and qs. It will go along way in conveying your respect and appreciation for that person- even if you're under no obligation to say such things.
10. Support a crowdfunding/Go Fund Me page
Kickstarter or Go Fund Me are great websites that allow you to donate to peoples' worthy causes and projects. We all need help from others when it comes to seeing our aims come to life, so why not help a stranger whose project resonated with you?
A simple $10 donation could lead to stakes in a multi-billion dollar company, or finding a cure for a deadly disease. The possibilities are endless.