Over the last few weeks I feel like the world has become an even darker and more worrying place. Our newspapers, televisions and social media feeds are full of horrific stories, politician bashing and those trying to drag each-other down, and to be completely honest – I’m exhausted. It’s inevitable that when our lives become so saturated with depressing news and worrying events that snarky comments start to appear all over our social media feeds; it’s inevitable that our fear, concern and uncertainty transpires into attempting to raise ourselves up, often at the expense of others. But it need not be that way. We can take a leaf out of the book of those that continue to spread positivity, love, compassion and thoughtfulness even in the hardest of times, creating just a little bit of sunshine for someone that we come across during our day. If, like me, you feel the need right now to make your world a little brighter and ensure you have a positive impact on others, then I’ve got a few light ways how you can achieve that… As Dumbledore once said: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
BUY SOMEONE IN THE QUEUE A COFFEE
So simple, yet so effective. I spend so much of my time in queues at coffee shops that I know it’s often an anonymous and silent place to catch up on Twitter or reply to an email or two, but you could make someone’s day by simply buying them a coffee; imagine how grateful you’d be to a total stranger if someone did the same for you! Positivity and kindness spreads like a ripple, so you’ve no idea how that small gesture may play out for the rest of the day because you did something nice. Starbucks on me?
DONATE TO YOUR LOCAL FOOD BANK
There are many people that struggle to make ends meat on a daily basis, but a small donation of food or toiletries could really help them to go to bed with a full belly and warm heart. Contact your local food bank and see what they need, whether that’s tins of beans, packets of pasta or even a stash of shower gel. I personally donate a lot of my unused beauty products to my local food bank, alongside a huge stash of feminine hygiene products for them to pass on to those in need. On a selfish level it makes me feel good that I’ve made a small difference, but I also know those items are going to those in far more need than my own.
VOLUNTEER AT YOUR CHOSEN CHARITY
All of us have a cause that’s close to our hearts – whether that’s the British Heart Foundation, RSPCA, Macmillan Cancer Care or a local hospice. Swap out a few hours of your week otherwise spent scrolling Twitter or catching up on Netflix, instead volunteering somewhere that will really appreciate your efforts. Charities are often calling out for help and support, whether that’s by working a shift in your local charity shop, reading stories to children in a hospice, helping to cook for the homeless or walking stray dogs. Small actions have big impacts.
CALL UP YOUR FAVOURITE OLD PERSON
Loneliness is a real problem amongst the elderly, with a huge proportion barely speaking to anyone from one day to the next. Calling up your Nan for a chat or taking your Great Aunt Mildred out for coffee once a week could be the thing they look forward to the most; those stories about the ‘good old days’ are actually really quite interesting if you listen carefully! Don’t dismiss this generation that have so much to offer: love, wisdom and the best storytelling ever.
CHAT TO A TOURIST ON THE TUBE
Generally speaking, Londoners prefer to put in their headphones or read a book and pretend you’re not there, but tourists (who are glaringly obvious most of the time) love a good chat about what they’re doing and where they’re going. If they look like they’re struggling with directions then give them a helping hand; offer up advice and recommendations, and share your favourite hotspots that they need to check out. They’ll be both appreciative and have a much better day as a result – as will you. (Bonus points if you help them up or down the stairs with a pushchair.)
PAY SOME COMPLIMENTS
If in doubt, the small things can make the biggest difference. Let people know you’ve enjoyed their content or that they’re looking smokin’ in their latest Instagram image; tell your mates they’re amazing, or thank your mum for being there whenever you need her. Let your colleague know they make the best cup of tea ever, or that their powerpoint presentations are always top notch; thank a sales assistant for being helpful, or a waitress for being so attentive. Everyone loves a compliment, no matter how big or small, and it costs you nothing.
This week I’m making an extra special effort to share kindness and positivity, because I think we all need it right now. What will you be doing to ensure you spread the love too?
Completely unrelated, although pretty and perfectly suited for spring… The new Yankee Candle collection is available now, via Love Aroma, priced £6.99 for the small jars. Available in four fragrances: Viva Havana, Delicious Guava, Tobacco Flower and Cuban Mojito
Why not buy your favourite people a little jar as a small token of your love and appreciation?
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