World Kindness Day is celebrated on 13 November. How can we become happier by doing kind things for others? And how can we help the world by doing kind things for ourselves?

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Can you remember a time when somebody was kind to you? Perhaps a person allowed you to go in front of them in a queue. Maybe your sister phoned you to ask how your week was going. Or perhaps a stranger or a friend helped you in a much deeper way. There are a million ways to offer kindness. And at a time when the world seems to have so many problems, some people have started to take the issue of kindness very seriously indeed!

Why be kind?

Few people would disagree with the idea that a kind action is good for the soul. It is a win-win situation, leading to a sense of well-being both for the receiver of this kind gesture, as well as for the person who does the action. As a simple example, let’s imagine you have a workmate who always does a very good job. How about taking a moment to mention this to them, just in conversation or perhaps by email? The effects of this will probably be quite clear: your workmate will be happy to receive some praise and, in addition, you will probably feel good about yourself for having spread a little joy.

What are ‘random acts of kindness’?

Many organisations try to encourage people to do kind acts, wherever and whenever they can. The idea behind this is that it doesn’t take any major plan to be kind, just a little bit of effort. Perhaps the strongest supporters of this idea are the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation, who work with schools and companies to teach people kindness skills. They operate under the beliefs that kindness can be taught and that it is contagious. Their activities range from suggesting kind acts to allowing their website-users to become ‘RAKtivists’ (people who officially register themselves as activists of kindness).

How can I be kind?

Apart from using your own common sense, the RAK website suggests some more imaginative ways to show kindness. Generally, these fall into three categories. The first is interpersonal kindness. Some examples are donating old clothes to charity or writing a positive online comment about a restaurant that you like. The second is environmental kindness, which could mean simply recycling or organising a group event to clean a local park or beach. The third category is less obvious: personal kindness, which means treating yourself kindly. Some examples are taking a walk in nature or setting yourself an objective to complain less. The logic is that by being kind to yourself, you will automatically be kinder to the world around you.

What is World Kindness Day?

This is an annual celebration which takes place on 13 November each year. The day is marked in many countries, drawing attention to the amazing work of organisations and individuals in local communities. How do people celebrate this day? Well, by being kind … and having lots of fun. One typical event is to use ‘kindness cards’. These are small cards which you hand to somebody when you do a kind act for them – with the message that now it is the other person’s turn to ‘pass on’ the card by doing a kind act for another person.

Most experts on kindness agree that it has a sort of ripple effect. This means that one kind action tends to lead to more and more. So don’t wait for kindness to find you today, go and start a new ripple!

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Intermediate: B1

Comments

I believe that being kind starts from understanding and appreciating differences among people, societies, cultures and countires. Without accepting differences, it would be impossible to be kind to each other. Let's be openminded and appreciate the differences.

I strongly agree that it is important to treat myself kindly. The reason I agree is everything starts from myself. I believe that if I don't know how to treat myself nicely, it is impossible to treat other nicely. Understanding my feelings; happiness or miserable so on allows interpersonally good relationship.

Definitely need to be kind to ourself and family to have a better life.

Can we also use to instead of for here?:
How can we become happier by doing kind things for others?

Hi mohitm,

'to others' is grammatically correct here but has a connotation that is probably not correct for what I suppose the intended meaning is.

If you say 'for others', it implies you are helping them. But if you say 'to others', it almost sounds as they are victims. This is because when we say 'someone did something to me' (or to whomever), it implies that I didn't give consent, that is, that I didn't want them to do it.

This is not true 100% of the time, but that is why 'for' is probably better than 'to' here, depending on the meaning intended.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team