You can use your "soft skills," sometimes known as "emotional intelligence." No cost is involved, only mindfulness.During your interactions with others, you can offer "mindful acts of kindness." You can plan them in advance, so there is nothing random about them.
Examples of Soft Skills You Can Use:
1. You can pay someone a genuine complimentOne of my favorites is to say to a store employee who leads me to the right aisle to find a product, "You're doing a really good job. Thank you." Almost invariably, that person lights up with pride.
You can also compliment co-workers, friends, children, health professionals, and countless others. However, your compliment should be genuine and not "automatic." Mindfulness during the act is important.
Examples: "Is your mom feeling better these days?" and "How is your son enjoying his studies at the university?" You can also share observations such as "I noticed in the paper that your daughter was the high scorer on her team."
3. You can give the gift of listening without judging or competingEveryone has their story to tell, and few feel listened to. When you allow another person to share their experience by supporting them with deep listening, that person will feel validated.
Don't give chin-up advice, and don't compete for your turn. Simply listen up and don't interrupt.
In our distracted, multi-tasking society, focused, empathic listening is in short supply, and almost everyone is starving for it. You can help.
4. Phone someone who helped you and thank them.You'll both feel better for it. Who could you phone? The coach that gave you a second chance? The boss who recommended you for a promotion? The teacher whose letter of recommendation got you into a special course?
The friend who stood by you during tough times? Your mother or father that you resented for saying no to something harmful you wanted to do as a teen and for which you have become grateful (but have never told them.)
5. Tell an acquaintance an uplifting storyAs you know, the success of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books is due to their stories of hope. As you pay attention, you'll notice such stories yourself.
Some are in the news media, like that of Susan Boyle, the plain Jane Scottish woman who inspired millions with her singing on Britain's Got Talent. But others are closer by, less famous, even in your neighborhoods.
The story doesn't have to be your own personal story. It can be about a friend or relative, or a co-worker, or even about someone you haven't met. It can be a reminder that if a woman like J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, could overcome her situation as an impoverished and almost homeless single mother, maybe we, too, can overcome our obstacles.
6. Lighten up and add some levity to the conversationAlthough many folks these days are singing "Ain't it awful" songs and commiserating with others, you don't have to join them. Instead, you can stir some gentle humor into the mix. Humor builds courage, and laughter heals.
As Mark Twain wrote, "Humor is the good natured side of a truth." It is often the person with a good sense of humor that mends a situation by getting people unstuck and open to new possibilities.
To be humorous, you don't have to tell jokes. In fact, it's usually best to avoid joke-telling, instead, try some word-play.