Little acts of kindness: how to find happiness

Happiness doesn’t come easily for some, but these seven simple steps will help you find it.

How to find happiness

Happiness guru, writer and blogger, Bernadette Russell, believes that we can “learn how to take action to change the world, one act of kindness at a time”.

When we envision acts of kindness most of us may automatically see images of people doing kind deeds to benefit others. But one theory posits that before you can make others happy and, in turn, change the world, you should first be happy with and kind to yourself. That’s where these seven simple exercises can help to bolster your emotional and spiritual self, quickly, easily and effectively, so you can go out and make a difference in the world.

Laugh – hang out with funny people, watch funny films, read funny books, go and see some live comedy. Laugh until you have a tummy ache. Be silly.

Get moving – work out at the gym, go for a walk, swim or dance to your favourite song in the kitchen.

Eat – healthy eating is a way of being kind to yourself. Treating yourself now and then is also a kindness. ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’, as the old saying goes.

Treat – ask yourself what you’re missing. If it’s time alone, then make it happen; if it’s sleep, ask someone to help you with the morning chores so you can lie in.

Inspiration – spend a bit of time at the beginning and end of each day seeking out something uplifting. Find the good news.

Say no – if yes comes easily and your life is wearisome because of it.

Say yes – if no comes easily and you wish your life were more exciting.

Know that if you are kind to yourself you will be happier, and that your happiness in itself is a gift to the world.

You will notice that happiness, like kindness, is contagious.

Do you follow any of these tips already? What kindness advice would you give to our members?

Prompted by the seeming hopelessness of the world around her, Bernadette Russell undertook a pledge to be kind to a stranger every day for a year. The experience left her wanting to inspire others. The Little Book of Kindness is packed with fun ideas, practical tips and interactive exercises that encourage you to 'be kind' in every area of life - online, to strangers, to the environment, in your community, to yourself - and change the world, one act of kindness at a time.

The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $16.99

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