From isolation to loss, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many of us to disconnect from each other. Cultivating goodwill can help spread positivity and nurture genuine connection and healing. Here’s how to get started.
Show compassion and kindness
Kindness and compassion play a big role in how supported and understood people feel when they’re going through a difficult time.
And after various pandemic-related challenges such as grief, losing a life we once knew and dealing with mental health issues, none of us is functioning at our usual capacity. Therefore, it’s important to view ourselves and others without judgment.
This could look like:
- being understanding when a loved one needs space or cancels plans during the festive season
- being mindful of how you’re feeling and practising self-care as necessary (e.g. taking a walk when you’re stressed)
- respecting others’ boundaries and setting your own
- realising that we all have different capacities, so lend a hand when someone needs it, for example when a colleague needs help with tasks or time off work
Have you ever noticed how good it feels to give back to others? Generosity helps us to be less self-absorbed, feel closer to others and even form more meaningful connections.
A generous heart fosters a greater sense of community and cultivates gratitude for what we have, including each other.
Simple ways to practise generosity include:
- being fully present when you’re spending time with someone (e.g. putting your phone away, making eye contact, actively listening to them)
- showing appreciation with thoughtful gifts, for instance giving your colleagues thank-you notes at the end of the year
- uplifting your community, for example through doing grocery shopping for elderly neighbours or donating to community projects
- accepting generosity from others, such as help when you need it – others are more likely to also accept your help if you accept theirs
Whether it’s on social media, disparaging comments from others or your own internal dialogue, negativity is everywhere. Challenging this by practising positivity can help you to de-stress and improve your mental wellbeing, and even make you more resilient during adversity.
Here are some ways you can cultivate positivity:
- Try to show healthy positivity in your social circles. This could involve uplifting others when they’re feeling down or complimenting them.
- Curate your social media accounts by unfollowing users who post negative content. You also need to be mindful when sharing posts.
- Challenge negative thoughts. For instance, write down a negative thought and try to match it with an optimistic one.
- Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Avoid anyone who makes you feel bad, for example people who gossip, complain excessively or always have a negative outlook.
For more advice related to goodwill, read these helpful articles:
- Rick Hanson, PhD. (n.d.). Cultivate Goodwill. [online] Available at: https://www.rickhanson.net/cultivate-goodwill/ [Accessed 10 November]
- Hutchinson, H. (2020). Five Tips for Cultivating Good Will in a Season of Division. [online] Transitioning Your Life. Available at: https://www.transitioningyourlife.com/five-tips-cultivating-good-will-season-of-division/ [Accessed 10 November]
- Firestone, L. (n.d.). The Benefits of Generosity. [online] PsychAlive. Available at: https://www.psychalive.org/benefits-of-generosity/ [Accessed 10 November]