In the hectic rush of our mundane routines, it's easy to forget how much the small gestures matter. Sometimes, the simple act of holding open the door for someone else, letting your daily barista keep the change, or pulling out a chair for someone before you sit yourself can brighten another person's day in ways you never even imagined. Read on for some simple ways to infuse your daily routine with kindness.
Although a smile is one of our most natural instincts, the impact of a pleasant facial expression can be easily forgotten. When we see someone smile kindly, we are instantly prodded to return the gesture with one of our own.
Lucky for us, the act of physically smiling also triggers a feedback cycle in our brain telling us that we should be happy. Making someone else's world a more pleasant place to be also lifts our own moods--it's a win-win for both of you.
2. Add more tactile actions
Doing something like patting someone on the back or letting your fingers graze against another's shoulders may seem like meaningless gestures, but these slight tactile sensations have a much longer-lasting impact than we think. Humans are creatures of comfort. We are constantly seeking different modes of connection.
The easiest connection of all is actually the most primal: Connection by touch. So, give your loved ones hugs. Shake your boss's hand. High-five your coworker when they've accomplished a difficult new task. There is an interminable number of ways to incorporate touch into our lives--and you'll be surprised how just receptive people turn out to be.
3. Let the other person go first
Whether it is on the road or on a sidewalk, something as easy as giving someone else the right of way can be a bright moment in another's day. When I'm driving and arrive at a 4-way stop sign at the same time as someone else, instead of being in a rush and pushing my way into the intersection, I always smile and wave the other person through.
The act is incredibly small, but the impact is undeniably large, because--even if for just a second--you know someone else put you before him or herself. That kind of selflessness rarely goes unnoticed, and it can make someone's day.