By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research & Strategic Insight
The election is finally over, and the holiday season is upon us. How are you feeling after more than a year of contentious campaigning, mudslinging, angry rhetoric and political commercials? Drained? Stressed? Maybe a little mean? Me too. I think this election cycle has caused more than a few of these emotions. Couple these feelings with the stress of the holidays and it seems like Americans are ready to explode. So let’s take a step back, take some deep breaths, and remember how to be kind to one another.
I recently took my car into the shop because my check engine light came on. I’ve been going to this particular shop for years, because they are always nice to me and give me fair prices and great service. This time, my 10-year-old car was having some transmission issues. Rather than spending the money to have it fixed, I decided to take the plunge and get a new car. I mentioned this to one of the service employees, Joe. His eyes lit up. “Oh! My son sells cars! Here’s his card.”
His son (also named Joe) was equally as nice, and I purchased my new car within a few hours. I felt very grateful to have had such a positive interaction with both of these businesses and their employees, so the next day I brought them cookies, brownies and other treats. All of them were shocked that a customer would bring them treats! Joe Jr., the car salesman, looked at me and said, “This small act of kindness will not go unnoticed.”
This got me thinking about how we can all do small acts of kindness each day. Make it a habit. Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:
• Write a thank you note to someone.
• Give someone a compliment.
• Bring your neighbors coffee or hot chocolate just because.
• Check in with your friends who are going through difficult times. Ask what you can do to help.
• Bring someone flowers.
• Be a good listener. Practice active listening more than you talk.
• When an employee at a company does something nice for you or goes out of their way, be sure to tell them thank you. Send a note to their manager about what a great job they did.
• Clean out your closets and donate things to charity.
• Volunteer your time for an organization you care about.
• Make someone smile.
• Hold the elevator for someone, or let a car merge in front of you in traffic. Make someone else’s day just a tiny bit easier!
• Plant a tree.
• Be a teacher/mentor. Many people could learn from your individual talents and experiences.
You see? It’s not that hard to be kind. And the best part is that being kind to someone else will make you and them feel great. Practice one act of kindness each day, and eventually you’ll be surrounded by more kind, positive people. Win-win.