A connected world

The heatwave that has gripped Europe – including the UK where temperatures went over 40c for the first time in recorded history – has been a tangible sign for many of the global climate crisis. Add to this the ongoing war in Ukraine and rapidly rising food and fuel prices, or the deepening staff shortage in the NHS, and it’s no wonder that many are feeling anxious about the future. Whilst there’s not much we can do about many of these global events, there are many things that we can do that help to make life better.

But better for who? One of the ironies of life is that, when we focus only on ourselves, and seek to make our life better – even at the expense of others – it often does the opposite. A society full of people all looking after Number One makes for a miserable place for us all! But where we recognise how dependent we are on others, and how much of a difference small acts of kindness can make for others, the world becomes a better place.

Why not try putting into practice a few of the following suggestions over the summer months? You’ll not only make someone else’s day but will also find that looking after others gives great satisfaction to yourself too.

  • Smile! Happiness is contagious, and simply smiling at others changes the way people experience life. (Don’t overdo it though! A warm smile is enough, you don’t need to be grinning from ear to ear all the time…)
  • Take an interest in others. Oftentimes, we are all too concerned with expressing our own frustrations, complaining about anything and everything, or criticising the government, the neighbours, family members – even the dog! Rather than expecting others to listen to your moans, why not take an interest in them and their life? Admire their garden, ask about the grand-kids, find out what interests them and let them tell you about their hobbies. You’ll learn something new and it will probably make their day.
  • Look for opportunities to help others. I don’t mean the big things necessarily, just little things can make a big difference. When you see someone who needs a hand with something, offer. Help a neighbour bring their own shopping in if you happen to be around when they’re unloading the car, or ask them if they need anything if you’re popping to the shops yourself.
  • Remember we’re all under the stress and pressure of current events, and be understanding of others. Maybe a stallholder in the market or a shop assistant seemed a bit off with you? Who knows what they have going on in their life, give them a break rather than becoming aggressive or impatient. Another driver done something they shouldn’t have? Or trying to push into a line of standing traffic? Don’t let road rage get the better of you!
  • Be kind, especially in the way you speak to people. Kind words make all the difference in any situation, but especially if dealing with conflict or difficult events. If you’ve been waiting on the phone for half an hour to speak to a customer service rep, don’t take it out on them, it’s not their fault! Being clear and firm in what you need dealing with does not mean you can’t be respectful and polite. They get a surprising amount of abuse and are remarkably tolerant, so show appreciation for their service to you.
  • And finally, take time every day to recharge your own batteries, as it were. Time just to step back from the everyday stresses and do something that does you good. It doesn’t need to be ages, even ten minutes can make a real difference – and help you be a better person for those around you.

We really do live in a connected world, where the way that you live can make a significant difference to other people’s lives. Let’s acknowledge that in how we relate to others, knowing that doing good to others will do us good too!

Photos by Ryoji Iwata, Madison Oren and Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash

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