When was the last time you smiled at a stranger? Or really listened to someone?
Smiling is the Best Way to Brighten Up Someone’s Day
According to a YouGov poll published this week by The Samaritans, smiling at someone is the top way you can brighten up a person’s day. The poll, published to coincide with National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), found that 53 per cent of people across the UK regarded being smiled at the most valued act of kindness. This was closely followed by receiving a compliment and being hugged (52 per cent).
We Love Being Listened To
Being listened to is also important to people with 44 per cent of those polled saying being listened to would brighten their day.
This is hardly surprising as researchers from Harvard University recently found that sharing personal information led to activity in the reward areas of the brain — the same ones that are engaged in response to rewards like sex and food. The researchers noted that people particularly enjoyed self-disclosure if they knew other people were listening.
Small Acts of Kindness
Other simple acts of kindness that were highly valued were having their birthday remembered, having someone make them a cup of tea and being greeted in the morning.
Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans said:
The results of the poll show how a very small gesture can have a really positive impact on someone.
What is most striking about these results is that many of the acts of kindness listed involve good old fashioned manners and common courtesy, like holding open a door or giving directions to someone who is lost. They show that the small, simple things really matter to people. And the cost of doing them is nil. It just takes a little time and effort to put someone else first for a short time.
From personal experience I have to say that smiling at someone and being smiled at makes me feel joyful, and the times I feel most deeply connected with people are when I feel truly listened to; heard and understood.
Random Acts of Kindness
If you’re inspired and would like to incorporate more random acts of kindness into your daily life why not check out the Random Acts of Kindness Organisation website. Their motto is ‘Inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others’ and It is filled with wonderful ideas and daily inspiration.
What act of kindness would brighten up your day? Have you performed an act of kindness recently and made someone’s day. Feel free to share and leave a comment below.
Photo: Thanks to LCSTRAVELBUGGIN on Flickr.com