Try a Little Kindness: Five Tips for Spreading Love and Joy

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Glen Campbell, one of my favorite singers, sung these famous lines (written by Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin) many years ago. Today, more than ever, we need to heed these words. There is too much fear, hate, and anger in the world these days... and many topics seem like a political hot potato.

What's the answer? Ignore the negativity, fear, and hate and turn on the kindness. The great thing about kindness is that it costs us nothing, and yet, can have some of the biggest payoffs -- both for how we feel and for the recipient. The key to kindness is be friendly, generous, considerate, and compassionate.

It's easy to get pulled into the black hole of fear, anger, and negativity. But you also have the power to rise above the news, social media, and other potential sources of negativity and focus on being kind -- to yourself and to others. Your reward for doing so will be a happier, healthier you -- both in terms of your physical and mental health.

Five Tips for Extending Kindness to Others

1. Do a Random (or Not So Random) Act of Kindness. There are literally hundreds of ideas for this one -- from no-cost to small costs. (See the additional resources at the end of this article for more ideas.) Check in on a neighbor; hold the door open for someone; share a surplus from your garden; donate blood; pick up trash along the road; drop off extra food at your local food bank; compliment a family member or co-worker; bring a healthy snack to share at work; buy coffee for the person behind you in line (or buy for several of the people in line); mentor a friend or co-worker; plow your neighbor's driveway; return a stray dog to its owner; write an encouraging note to a loved one; leave a larger tip and a positive note for waitstaff; donate blankets to a homeless shelter.

2. Focus on the Positive/Spread Positivity. You do not need to become Smiling Suzy or Happy Henry -- if that's not you -- but we can train ourselves to stay away from the dark side of things and focus on the good and positive. For example, I stopped using Facebook because of all the negativity and political nastiness. For many of us, focusing on the positive takes a lot of practice, hard work, and persistence. Is life always perfect and wonderful? Of course not, but we can choose to see the "silver linings" and other positive outcomes.

3. Be Generous With your Time and Money. The vast majority of us are living a decent life -- especially if we have the essentials, such as shelter, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing. We have more time than we realize and can certainly spare time for others. Offer to help friends and neighbors with projects, consider volunteering at a nonprofit that supports the cause you are most passionate about, donate money or items to worthy causes -- as you can. Understand what you like doing most and do it. For example, for me, it's acts of service... I like helping people. For others, it might be baking a cake or cookies for a friend who doesn't bake. As we learned in kindergarten, sharing what we have with others is a good thing!

4. Express -- and Share -- Gratitude. As we go through our day, there are often opportunities to express gratitude to others. Our daily struggles and workload may seem overwhelming at times, but if we take the time to take a step back, we can see the positive impact we're making, the joys of a good life, appreciating all the little things that add up to big things -- your morning coffee, the vehicle that takes you to work (or better, the ability to work from home), the blooming flowers, the birds chirping, your pets, the co-worker who brought you a snack... the list could go on and on.

5. Engage and Encourage People. When I lived and worked in New York City many years ago, one of the first things I learned was to never make eye contact with strangers; you may look in someone's direction, but you make your gaze such so that you are looking beyond them. While we might be a little more cautious encouraging strangers, we can certainly feel safe encouraging all the people around us... family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Even simply sending a text or email to someone expressing that you are thinking about them, praying for them, missing them -- all these methods are forms of encouragement and connection.

Final Thoughts on Kindness

Finally, remember to be kind to yourself. Sometimes the most generous people are stingy with themselves... so if that's you, break the cycle. You are worthy of as much kindness -- and self-kindness as anyone else.

I am not sure of other religions, but as a person of faith, who believes in Christ and the Bible as the Word, I take to heart scripture, such as: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32.

Additional Kindness Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.