World Kindness Day might inspire you to have the confidence to do something extra special for someone else, but I wonder- can we go further? Here at People United we know that the arts activate four human behaviours and attitudes (emotions, connections, learning and values) which act as a superconductor for kindness. So what if your World Kindness Day acts of kindness were creative too?
By creative I simply mean actions that require use of your imagination to create something. Which could be art, but it could also be this morning when you picked from a selection of clothing to wear.
The ideas in this list come from some of my favourite ‘People United-y things’ such as elements from our Arts & Kindness Weeks in Schools, learning from our Artist Commissions as well as our love of cake.
We’ve got 10 years’ worth of evidence in our latest research report Changing the World through Arts & Kindness to support our belief that arts and kindness can be radical. It can increase empathy, reduce bias and increase self-efficacy. So this World Kindness Day, we challenge you to use it as an opportunity to champion creative acts of kindness not just on Monday 13 November but beyond too.
10 Creative Ways to ‘be kind’ this World Kindness Day
1. Write a gratitude haiku
Think about a special Kind Person (KP) in your life and write them a haiku to let them know how grateful you are for what they do. Send it to them in an email, a text message or read it aloud to them! Haikus normally have 3 lines, with a syllable pattern of 5-7- 5 and they don’t have to rhyme! For example:
Brother tricked me once
Dog biscuit ice lolly ate
Sharing funny tales
2. Look up
This call to positive action is something artist Sarah Carne explored in our 2015 Artist Commission Love at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Start by simply looking up. Smile. Say “Good Morning”. See how it feels to invite moments of interaction and encourage shared experiences.
3. Inspire others to ‘be kind’
Join the ‘be kind’ revolution this World Kindness Day. Make your own #BeKindSigns or download one of People United’s free customisable templates and posters. Just make sure you share it where lots of people will see it on Monday 13 November and help to inspire acts of kindness across the world! Look out for 10 LED neon ‘be kind’ signs lighting up the UK that People United has given away to groups, venues and organisations.
4. Lend a hand
If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, World Kindness Day is a great excuse to put those thoughts into action. Look for local volunteering opportunities in your area by visiting: www.do-it.org From helping out at a one off community event to supporting a weekly Girlguiding group your time and skills will be appreciated.
5. Make people laugh
Laughter is a powerful tool in enabling people to feel togetherness. Make jokes to entertain your friends and build connections with new ones.
6. Curate a care package for a friend
Let someone know how great you think they are by putting together a care package of items to celebrate their recent achievement (or just because you want them to know they are brilliant). People United’s Sarah gave one to the lovely group of arts and kindness fans who took part in our 24hr Art Marathon (creating a ‘be kind’ zine overnight!), her care package was filled with midnight snacks and cosy socks.
7. Listen Creatively
Slow down. Actively listen to what people have to say and the tones of their voice. Show curiosity by asking questions to encourage their storytelling. By listening creatively you’ll get more out of what you hear and you might discover new commonalities between you.
8. Guerrilla Kindness
Take inspiration from the 2nd Rainford Rainbows Girlguiding group who will be painting kind words and phrases on small stones and leaving them on pathways as a nice surprise for people in their village to find.
In this office we really like cake, and we know we’re not alone! How about baking something tasty to make a friend’s day? Don’t worry if it turns out wonky or burnt- it’s the time and effort you put in that makes it special. Any disasters will provide lots of giggles instead!
10. Be kind to yourself
Spend one hour today doing something for you. Now this isn’t doing something that you need to get ticked off like buying the weekly food shop. Instead, truly indulge your full attention into a leisure activity such as reading, walking or painting.
People United is celebrating World Kindness Day 2017 by lighting up the UK with ten LED neon ‘be kind’ signs and encouraging everyone to display their own handmade or downloaded #BeKindSigns on Monday 13 November. Join the ‘be kind’ revolution here!