Thinking Out Loud

Healing Through Kindness…

Healing Through Kindness, by Helen C Green

Never underestimate the power of loving kindness, giving, receiving or both, it has the potential to turn a life around.

About a year ago I connected with a beautiful big kind heart by the name of Helen. It was one of those connections where its familiarity is comforting. One of the things I truly admire about Helen is her determination to spread kindness as much as possible despite facing trying health challenges. Helen found that self-medicating with regular doses of kindness contributes greatly to her journey of recovery.

One of many ways Helen does this is through her blog – Make Today Happy - which she openly welcomes you to. Her blog was picked up by local media which then lead to BBC Radio meeting with her to see the positive effects her random acts of kindness were having (you can listen to these here BBC 1 and BBC 2 ).

Here Helen shares her story…

“It’s hard to believe that this time last year (and the year before), I was lying in bed every day feeling completely wiped out and utterly miserable.

My life had been turned upside down after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in 2013, my main symptoms being extreme fatigue and scarily confusing brain fog.

One day, in the depths of despair I has a sudden realisation that my normally positive outlook on life was being replaced by anger, frustration and down-right depression.

I knew that I had to do something to get my happy back. And fast.

I thought up a project called ‘100 days of happy’ where I would look for something to be happy about every day and write about it in a blog, however small, however little.

I chose to focus on gratitude, mindfulness – both of which I’d been practising haphazardly for a little while – and kindness, being a big fan of the Random Acts of Kindness movement and had been looking for a way to get involved.

With limited funds and energy, I wasn’t sure what I could do and what kind of impact I could make, if at all. But I gave it a go and soon learned that no act of kindness is too small, and in fact, can sometimes make a bigger impact than I could have ever imagined.

My first act of kindness was attaching a kindness card I’d created to a few chocolate bars and hiding them for people to find. I wasn’t expecting the thrill I got from doing this small act: merely from the hope that it may bring a smile to the finders’ faces.

Over the following months I’ve continued with my kindness acts, including hiding more kindness cards with messages, buying coffees for strangers, and even giving a bunch of flowers to a stranger.

And after hearing from some of those who’ve been on the receiving end of my kindness acts, it is one of the best and most rewarding feelings ever. It really is true what they say about the giver benefiting as much as the receiver.

Now as I approach my 100th day of my ‘100 days of happy’ project, I can honestly say that I have found my happy again. Even though I’ve still a way to go on my rollercoaster of a recovery journey and I still have to spend the odd day in bed, I know for sure that kindness has become an essential part of my healing toolkit and makes me feel so much brighter and happier.

I’ve become hugely passionate about spreading kindness, so much so, it’s become a bit of a mission. At the moment, I’m thinking of what acts of kindness I can do to help celebrate International Random Acts of Kindness Week. Running from 14th-20th February, starting quite aptly on Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas to help us all spread a little more kindness around:

  1. Give someone a compliment:

Tell someone you how much you appreciate them or what a good friend they’ve been, it’ll warm both your hearts

  1. Let someone in front of you in a queue:

Be it during rush hour traffic, or someone behind you at the supermarket who only has a couple of items

  1. Buy a friend, colleague or a stranger a coffee:

Simply pay for an extra coffee and ask the server to surprise another customer with their free beverage

  1. Hold the door open for someone:

Even if you have to wait a few seconds for them to reach you, and why not throw in a smile

  1. Give a friend or loved one your full attention:

We can all be guilty of being easily distracted, especially with our phones, so put it down and listen

  1. Hide a happy note for someone to find:

Pop one in your loved one’s pocket, or stick a post-it on a mirror in a shop’s dressing room

  1. Tape some money to a vending or car park ticket machine:

Surprise the next visitor with a free drink or free parking

  1. Smile at a stranger:

Go for a walk in nature and smile at everyone you see, you could even push the boat out and say hello!

  1. Offer to help someone:

Rake a neighbour’s garden, go shopping for an elderly relative, look after a friend’s kids so they can have some  ‘me time’

10. And don’t forget to do something kind for yourself:

Perhaps the most important of all. Go on, you’re worth it

Good luck and have fun! ”

I always look forward to reading Helens blog posts. There has been many inspiring moments for me but one of my favourites was reading about the effect one of her acts of kindness had on a woman and her husband who was unwell. Do yourself a favour, take the time to read it here ….as I said, never underestimate the power of loving kindness, it has the potential to turn a life around.

Thank you Helen for sharing your big heart with us