Feel a spring in your step and get your street smiling.
Communities were out in force when lockdown hit in 2020. Nearly two years on and with life picking up pace, it would be easy to let these good deeds fade.
That’s why here at My Weekly, we were so delighted to see one small kind gesture radiate throughout a whole community. An unknown resident is putting smiles on locals’ faces, in one village in rural England. Mysterious bunches of daffodils with notes attached, are appearing throughout the streets.
I’d gone for a walk with my partner, as we are still working predominately from home. I am 20 weeks pregnant and having pain in my hips so I was feeling pretty miserable. I noticed a bunch of daffodils with a label on and they immediately lifted my spirits. I thought it was a lovely thing to do, it really cheered me up. A small gesture that stopped me from feeling so insular. Two years into Covid19, empathy fatigue can set in and this small token pierced through the grey I was feeling. Whether you pass it on or it stops there, the gesture either way, was lovely and much appreciated. Jaydine Breadon
Kindness and giving can have benefits for our physical help too says Dr. Sarah Brewer, Medical Director at well-being brand Healthspan. “Being kind can have a profound effect on our health. It not only helps others feel good, but also improves your own emotional wellbeing by reducing stress levels. Lower stress has knock on benefits for mood, blood pressure and glucose control, lifts mood and improves general wellbeing. Community spirit also enhances wellbeing, lowers stress levels and can have long-term benefits on blood pressure and glucose control and by reducing anxiety and boosting mood can promote healthy lifestyle choices and reduce reliance on unhealthy habits,” says Dr. Brewer.
So how can you raise a smile in your streets and in turn keep yourself smiling?
1. Craft A Surprise
One WI group knitted angels and hung them from fir trees for locals to take home. Other individuals have decorated post boxes with knitted themed items, from poppies to mark Remembrance Sunday to Easter bunnies. If you’re not super crafty, then a painted stone with a picture or even a joke on it can provide a local treasure hunt and a bit of fun for the community. Or simply baking some cakes and dropping them off at your neighbours can give the street the feel good factor.
2. Join A Group
Bringing people together in the community can be easier than you think. There’s usually something for everyone from bowling and tennis clubs to neighbourhood watch or even book groups. Have you thought, however about setting up something new? Litter picking with neighbours will not only help your local wildlife, the fresh air and company will raise spirits, or for something to lift everyone’s spirits start planning a street party for the Queen’s jubilee. Pass us the bunting!
3. Think Small
According to author Libby Page, community spirit doesn’t have to be on a big scale. This bestselling author’s latest book, The Island Home, is a heart-warming take on community life on a small island. The author told My Weekly that The Island Home highlighted the idea that a community can have a big heart even when it’s small in size. Take inspiration from Libby and the fictitious community of Kip and think small. Encourage your neighbour or friends to do the annual RSPB bird watch or a Macmillan coffee morning together. It’s the togetherness and belonging that matters. For even more inspiration read our My Weekly top tips to give your community a boost here.
4. Pay It Forward
Ever finished a good book and passed it on, warned a driver about a traffic jam, dropped off supplies to a food bank or let someone have your seat on the bus? Or maybe you’ve been the recipient? It’s natural to want to pass the good feeling on. Paying kindness forward doesn’t cost anything but can mean the world to someone and you never know when that person may just be you. Learn more about paying kindness forward and how one Doctor used billboards to spread messages of kindness around communities here or read anxiety specialist Susie Lawrence’s top kindness tips here.
5. Spread Positivity
Sometimes the easiest way to get people to smile is to be smiling yourself. Dr. Brewer is a big fan of positivity from within. “It’s all too easy to focus on negatives – instead, aim to look for positives. Be kind to yourself as well as others and express gratitude for the little things that make you happy – the sun, coffee, birdsong, spring flowers, a smile from a stranger.” Plus, it’s not just good for the community, people with a sunny outlook on life tend to live, on average, seven and a half years longer than those with more negative thoughts!
We’d love to see your photos or hear your uplifting stories from your street. Have mystery gifts been left in your village? Or has a neighbour gone out of their way to be kind? Share your photos on our social media streams, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Or simply send us a comment or an email.
For wellbeing and health ideas to lift your spirits every week then check out My Weekly. Be inspired with our feel good read out now.