• What do we mean by ‘kindness’?
  • What are acts of kindness?
  • Being kind to yourself
  • Benefits of kindness

What do we mean by ‘kindness’?

Kindness can be defined as good gestures towards yourself or others and being motivated to do something good because you genuinely want to make a positive difference.

Our Kindness research has shown that kindness is an antidote to loneliness or isolation, as it can create a sense of belonging. Kindness can also help relieve stress and deepen friendships, and kindness towards ourselves can boost our self-esteem and create feelings of optimism.

What are acts of kindness?

Acts of kindness don’t have to be big gestures: listening to someone intently after they have had a bad day, being accepting and non-judgemental to those around us or helping someone carry things when their arms are full are all examples of acts of kindness that we can do in our everyday lives.

Doing something nice for someone doesn’t cost a lot of time or money; even the smallest acts can make you and someone else get that warm feeling. Remember: doing good does you good.

Some ideas for random acts of kindness that you can incorporate into your day:

  • Smile and say good morning/afternoon to people you pass on the street
  • Prioritise some ‘me’ time and do something you enjoy, like listening to your favourite podcast or song
  • Check if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
  • Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Have a conversation with a colleague you don’t usually chat to

Being kind to yourself

Remember that whatever you manage today is good enough. Whether that is making your bed or learning a new skill, being kind to yourself is recognising that both of those activities are achievements.

If you are struggling, try not to beat yourself up and tune out the voice of comparison by appreciating and celebrating the little things you have done, whether that is having a shower or getting up to get a glass of water.

Benefits of kindness

In our April 2020 research into the impact of kindness on mental health, we found that 63% of adults in the UK agreed that when other people are kind, it positively affects their mental health. The same proportion agreed that being kind to others also positively impacted their mental health.

Our survey also found that nearly half of UK adults (48%) agreed that being kind to themselves positively affects their mental health, with 41% saying that they try to ensure they make time to be kind to themselves.

Learn more about kindness and mental health

* Last updated: 11 April 2023

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