Acts of kindness? Aren’t they all a bit, you know, worthy and beardy?

Laura Kemp by Sian Morgan

Laura Kemp by Sian Morgan

Well, they are if you’re thinking of saving the planet from its woes. Of which, undoubtedly, there are many. But it’s a big ask and attempts will probably leave you sobbing at the futility of life.

Instead, think about going micro. Just like the people do in my new book The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness. Make it local. Make it personal. Make it right now. Because you’ll earn yourself a bright and burning glow that’ll light up your world without contributing to global warming…

 Let someone go first

You’re in a rush. Oh God, you’re going to be late. The trouble is so is everyone else. Imagine if we all got our elbows out at once, we’d have to rename the world Planet Elbow. So whether you’re in a queue in a car or there’s someone behind you with one item in their basket and you’ve got a trolley-load, let them in, tell them “after you”. Because one day, someone will do it for you.

Pick up litter

Yuck. Touch other people’s rubbish and infect yourself with their disgusting?

Excuse me, but have you heard of hand sanitiser? Litter is contagious. If grime is standard, it becomes acceptable and we’ll end up living in a pit. Just take a bag with you on your next trip outside, pick up the wrappers and cans, then bung then in the bin (a recycling one if possible). Job. Done.

Smile

That grumpy git who tuts at you when you accidentally knock into their bag on the bus? The sour-faced trout who exhales like a martyr when you’re the last one in the shop? How tempting it is to be as miserable as them. The thing is, you don’t know if that grumpy git has had some terrible news or if the sour-faced trout has someone depending on her after work. Reign in your satan and smile instead. It might be the only bit of kindness they’ve had all day.

Patience

Those shuffling old people taking years to cross the road. The mum with the pram and the toddler taking over the pavement. Oh my word, they’re all so…either going to be you in the future or you’ve once stood in their shoes. And they’re wishing they weren’t causing such a scene too. Take a deep breath and chill the hell out. Impatience leads to anger and frustration. And that makes you a bit of a drag, to be honest.

Give yourself a gift

I will spare you the psychobabble of self-love and all that stuff about the art of unfolding petals within your heart while doing a headstand. But I don’t mean narcissism either. This act of kindness is about giving yourself a treat because if you can indulge then you’ll reap the benefits of a happier mind and you’ll be able to do some of the above. Oh, I know, you haven’t got the time, you’re way down the list. Hang on though, if you don’t look after yourself, no one else will. Do something that feels decadent, that you’ve been denying yourself for so long. Go the the cinema during the day. Slob out at home. Have lunch with your friends. Eat a cheese and crisp sandwich. Anything that revives the soul. And make sure there’s chocolate involved.