"What is an easy thing for my aging loved one to do to help them feel more confident and happy?"
Kindness is powerful. It takes many forms, and has many benefits. Of course kindness positively impacts the one receiving it, but did you know it also benefits the one offering the kindness, with things like increased energy, happiness, serotonin, self-esteem, and even lifespan!
What exactly is kindness? Psychology Today defines kindness as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate". There are many, many simple ways to be kind, even for our aging loved ones! They can try:
1) Smiling with your eyes
2) Complimenting someone
3) Making eye contact
4) Asking someone how they are and truly meaning it
5) Saying ‘Hi’ to people that you pass on the street
6) Saying ‘Thank you’ to workers in your home, or out and about in the community
7) Giving someone a few extra minutes of undivided attention (like a grandchild!)
8) Being your authentic self
9) Holding the door open for someone
10) Letting someone go ahead of you in line who has fewer items
11) Being open and welcoming
12) Actively listening
13) Purchasing a coffee for the person behind you at Tim’s (I did this the other day and it felt fantastic!)
It's a great idea to encourage your aging loved one to add small acts of kindness into their life, in whatever way works best for them! Maybe you can give them this list of ideas, maybe they come up with their own list to try, or perhaps you just focus on one that they want to repeat as much as they can (giving authentic compliments perhaps?)! Opportunities are all around us! You and your loved one could try some kindness on your next trip out, on your next visit to a social media site, the next time you have company, or even just at home with one another! It's worth noting that it can be a bit intimidating to be kind these days. I have noticed in recent weeks and months, that people aren’t quite as kind and friendly as perhaps they used to be. I could rant on and on about the woes of cell phones and how everyone is now buried on their device. I think the lack of kindness and well wishes is also born from a general sense of apathy, and a result of living through a pandemic. Often, I have held doors for people, smiled, and said hi... and received no recognition of my gesture. But that does and will not make me feel defeated! Kindness is as much for me as it is for those I'm being kind to! And though we sometimes think of a kind person as naive or weak, that is not true at all! It often takes a lot of courage and strength to be kind. Read that again. Courage and strength. We could all use a reminder of how strong we are these days! So when your loved one chooses to spread kindness, remind them of their inner strength, and ask them how being kind made them feel! Be courageous, be kind, and pass it on.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop