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Can you recall a time somebody was kind to you? What did that feel like? Kindness is defined as an act of being friendly, generous, and considerate, as well as affectionate, gentle, and caring. Studies have shown that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in interpersonal relationships. So much so, that many universities are now emphasizing kindness on applications for admission.

People flourish when they are treated with kindness and it becomes even more apparent with age. Showing kindness doesn’t have to cost anything or take much of your time. It can be as simple as a warm smile, a touch, or a word of encouragement. There is a strong relationship between feeling happy and simply being kind―it will be difficult for you to be angry, resentful, or fearful while you are showing kindness towards others. Consequently, when you act with kindness, it not only affects the other person, it elevates your own health and well-being.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to show acts of kindness to others. Give an encouraging word or a smile, open a door for someone, help carry a heavy load, or any action made for the sake of caring. Other ways to practice kindness could be: celebrating someone you love; telling someone how special she is to you; paying a genuine compliment; giving honest feedback; sending a thank you card or e-mail; helping an elderly neighbor with their yard work; taking a picture of someone and sending it to them; sharing homemade food; or donating clothes and other items that will enrich others’ lives.

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