In a digital world that's becoming increasingly toxic due to online trolling, pitting women against each other, racism and filtering reality - it's little wonder that one in four people in the UK have a mental health problem. HELLO! is making a stand for fairer, kinder and gentler conversations, to help ensure better mental health, with our #HelloToKindness campaign.
One way readers can help achieve this is by making a random act of kindness for free. It's a simple daily gesture that Princess Diana believed in doing, as she once said: "Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." With the help of some of our favourite authors and top experts who shared their ideas with us, here are ten random acts of kindness suggestions that you can do both online and offline - and they're probably easier than you first think.
Watch the video to find out more about our #HelloToKindness campaign
1. Leave a note, the modern way
Laura Jane Williams, author of Becoming and Icecream For Breakfast, and all-round positivity advocate on her hugely popular Instagram channel @laurajaneauthor, suggested: "Send a voice note to tell somebody you’re thinking of them. Voice note is more personal than text, but not as intrusive as a phone call. In less than a minute you can say hello, let the other person know what you’re up and wish them a lovely day. Easy, and totally charming!"
2. Say it with food for your community
Margie Nomura, food writer and host of the much-loved Desert Island Dishes podcast, understands the power of sharing food, saying: "There’s a really brilliant app called Olio which connects people with surplus food with people who need it - in whatever form that takes. It’s free to use and definitely has the feel good factor of knowing you aren’t wasting food. It can be anything from surplus chicken stock, to a slice of birthday cake and you just never know who’s day you might brighten."
3. Compliment a loved one as soon as you wake up
Nosh Detox founder and celebrity life coach Geeta Sidhu-Robb - whose past clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, said: "As soon as you wake up, remind those closest to you how special they are and how lucky you are to have them. This may sound cliché, but it’s amazing how little we remember to do this. It’s also amazing how much this can positively impact somebody's self-esteem and set them, and yourself, on the right path for the day."
4. Tweet or email someone whose work you admire
Daisy Buchanan, former agony aunt and author of upcoming book The Sisterhood, suggested her own New Year resolution, which was to send a Twitter message or email to someone whose work she admired, explaining: "At first I felt a bit self conscious and silly, but I was surprised by the number of successful people who said that they had been having a bad day, or they were feeling low, and that the message had cheered them up. I really benefited from it too - making an effort to celebrate people’s talents made me feel much more positive about my own work. Handwritten letters are lovely, but it might be easiest to start sending your good wishes digitally the moment the thought pops into your head!"
5. Give charity some of your spare time
Linda Fenn, Head of Volunteering at the British Heart Foundation, gave a reminder of one of the most popular and rewarding acts of kindness - volunteering at a charity shop, saying: "Not only is volunteering a great way to increase your own wellbeing, but also meet new people and learn new skills, whilst helping us to raise vital funds for pioneering research."
6. Simply smile
Andy Hope, happiness expert and co-author of The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence, explained that it really is the little things that make a big difference, simply suggesting: "Smile at everyone who comes within 10 feet of you and make eye contact or say, ‘Hi’ to everyone who comes within five feet (works everywhere except the London Underground)."
7. Engage with people when running daily errands
Psychologist Fiona Murden, author of Defining You gave a couple of suggestions that we can all relate to when it comes to doing the weekly food shop, saying: "Help someone to carry their bags if they look overloaded or like they are struggling and thank service staff at the counter of a coffee shop or checkout at the supermarket. Ask them how they are and really mean it and listen to the answer."
8. Be fully present during conversations
Life coach Simon Alexander Ong pointed out a bad habit that we are all guilty of, and what we can do to stop doing it, saying: "Put your phone away and on flight mode when you are having a conversation with someone, so that you can be fully present."
9. Take the load off loved-ones who are stressed
Personal development expert and life coach Carol Ann Rice - winner of Best Coach in the Best Business Women’s Awards 2017 - suggested small ways to help take the load off loved ones who are stressed, suggesting: "Let them have a lie in while you do the chores and babysit, cook a meal when you know they're too busy, or bake them a cake for no reason."
10. Green-fingered goodness
One for the green-fingered out there, gardening expert Andy Baxter suggested: "Give seeds and plant offshoots to neighbours and friends. It can save money and is better for the environment, it also creates a chain of kindness as people pass it on in the months to come."
Make a stand. Say #HelloToKindness. Post your kind message on Instagram today and tag @HelloMag.