With your help, our new movement DAKtivism™ is now underway - with a growing group of people agreeing to perform daily acts of kindness. Given the potential benefits, acts of kindness need to occur daily (acts of kindness done randomly are just not enough), and can begin with self-care, e.g. having a proper breakfast, or getting some exercise. In time, such acts of kindness may expand into wider acts of kindness with families, organisations and whole communities. While anyone can engage in acts of kindness, we encourage people to become a formal DAKtivists™ (email us) to help test and share ideas, and contribute to the evidence base for information and insights on this important topic of kindness.
Potentially, there are many benefits to daily acts of kindness and compassion:
All clients and staff at The I Can Centre are encouraged to become DAKtivists™ which includes the offer of regular DAKtivist™ meetups. We also encourage DAKtivists™ to contribute ideas and time as part of the research and evidence base on kindness and compassion. In fact, this help is core. Please contact us to find out more and/or sign up to our newsletter or our social media pages.
We believe, kindness is core to health and happiness, and that those engaging to daily acts of kindness (DAKtivists™) can gain many benefits:
Kindness begins with behavioural changes, and includes taking time to treat ourselves (and others) with care, respect and compassion. Kindness and compassion means being sensitive to suffering of the self, and of others, and it includes a deep commitment to prevent/manage that suffering and nurture well-being (Gilbert, 2015).
As an example, if a colleague gets a promotion and you did not, it would be easy to self-criticise and tell ourselves: “you should have done better”, or “you messed that up”. By taking a compassionate and kinder stance however, you might say instead: “your time will come”, or “you are feeling annoyed / angry, and need to do some self-care (a kind and compassionate activity) to improve how you are feeling". Kindness and self-compassion, which includes self-care, are especially important at difficult times, but ideally, kindness and self-compassion become a way of life. A daily way of life!
Self- or other criticism can be the opposite of compassion and kindness, This occurs when we accidentally allow an inner critical voice freedom to judge, undermine, condemn or even sabotage our efforts and activities. When this happens, moods often drop, stress or anxiety increases, and a lot of energy gets wasted. Typically however, this happens because people simply had not realised the negative consequences, or that there are better and more effective ways to manage negative, angry, anxious or worry thoughts (consider 1-1 CBT, OR our community "Stress Busters" course for adults).
*A lot of acts can be carried out under the guise of compassion or kindness, but true compassion or kindness does NOT harm another.
Steps towards kindness and self-care, and a new you, can include any of the following:
Self-care and kindness can also include accessing CBT support, or attending one of our informal community Stress Busters courses. Additionally, there is no assumption / need for anything to be "wrong" to access these supports. Instead, it is quite fine to attend these even for personal development, information and/or prevention.
Kindness and self-care can be a challenge for beginning practitioners incl those with busy lives. As noted by Richardson (2009) self-care takes patience, commitment and practice which includes sitting with uncomfortable feelings initially such as guilt or fear (for erroneously being judged negatively). However, you deserve kindness. Additionally, self-care and kindness are not selfish; by respecting and caring for ourselves, we are more able to respect and care for others. You may even be a role model for others towards similar changes.
Managing challenges however is absolutely worthwhile. A more kind and compassionate way of life will mean: