When you participate in intentional acts of kindness toward others, you make an impact – both on them and on you. There is great research to support the positive effects that “doing good” has on our mental wellness.
- Research reveals that doing good deeds, or kind acts, can make socially-anxious people feel better.
- Studies have shown that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.
- Research proves that sharing your time with others for a good cause can improve your overall happiness and mental well-being.
Acts of kindness can be small gestures or grand gestures. Small gestures are equally impactful and simple, and often free and therefore can possibly be done more often.
Here are a few things you can do to show kindness and positively impact your mental wellbeing and that of others as well:
1. Look for ways to make a small difference.
Look at the people around you. Maybe a friend could use help walking their dog while they recover from surgery, surprise your neighbor by shoveling their walk after a big snow storm, drop off a snack to a family in need, or let the store manager know that the clerk offered excellent customer service.
2. Take advantage of simple opportunities presented to you.
Sometimes, the simplest of things can provide a moment of connection with others like smiling at a passerby, walking a grocery cart back into the store, mindfully holding the door open for someone and saying thank you when the door is held for you, or mailing and handwritten “thinking of you” card to a friend or family member.
3. Volunteer in your community.
You can search online for opportunities to volunteer at a local nonprofit organization, soup kitchen, or through your favorite place of worship. You can also find many, easy-to-join volunteer opportunities at ProjectHelping.org, a site dedicated to connecting volunteers with vetted non-profits in the greater Denver area (expanding quickly to San Diego and Tampa).
4. Volunteer at home.
If getting out of your home is not an option, volunteer projects-in-a-box called Kynd Kits by Project Helping can be delivered right to your door. They can even be shipped internationally! Kynd Kits include all materials needed to assemble a care package within 30-90 minutes, supporting a cause and categories you are passionate about (rescue dogs, essential workers, military, children’s hospital or cancer treatment patients, children in the foster care system, teen mental health, plus many more). If a FREE virtual Kynd Kit assembly event sounds interesting, you can browse for them, and all volunteer events, by setting up a free Kynd Hub account. At Creative Counseling Center, we purchased several Kynd Kits as a fun and feel-good team-building opportunity!
Volunteering can drastically change, and even save, lives. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, volunteering and performing acts of kindness has the ability to turn things around for you. It provides an immediate sense of satisfaction and allows you to feel less isolated, connected to a greater community, whether online or in person, and increases your sense of gratitude, which has a profound effect on how you feel about yourself and your life.
Contact Creative Counseling Center
Depression and anxiety can be difficult, especially if you feel overwhelmed by it. Working through mental health struggles on your own can seem daunting. Sometimes, a little guidance and support from a therapist can be beneficial. If you feel stuck in a cycle of defeat or have a child who may be depressed or anxious, request a free phone consultation. Our team of counselors are some of the most trusted in Denver. After a brief phone conversation, we will be able to determine if our practice is a good fit for your circumstance and which therapist might be best suited to support you or your loved one.