How to Do Small Acts of Kindness for Family and Friends

Woman walking with her mother.
Spending time with family can be a kind gesture. Getty / Westend61

Being kind is a critical part of shifting your focus away from yourself when you have social anxiety.

Family is an important part of most people’s lives. Many individuals spend a great deal of time making other family members happy. Kindness not only has a place in family relationships but also in relationships with friends.

Practice Small Acts of Kindness

Small acts of kindness can include simple things.

  • Preparing favorite meals.
  • Taking each other out for dinner.
  • Ordering food to eat at home.
  • Buying gifts for others.
  • Helping around the house.
  • Buying groceries for an elderly parent.
  • Doing the dishes or vacuuming for a friend or family member.
  • Calling someone who lives far away.
  • Spending time with your family and friends.
  • Do small favors and big favors. Help friends and family move.
  • Watch your friend's children so she can go out for dinner.
  • Bringing snacks for others to enjoy when you are together.
  • Bring the little things people might not think of, such as paper plates and napkins when having a gathering.
  • Volunteer to take a shift for a friend if you work together and he needs time off.

It does not really matter what you do. The goal is to practice small or large acts of kindness to make other people have better days. As a side effect, you may find that your social anxiety lessens because you are thinking more about others and less about yourself (and how others perceive you).

It's hard to do two opposing things at the same time, so doing good for family and friends may help to shift your mind away from the anxious thoughts it loves so much.

Source:

Trew JL, Alden LE. Kindness reduces avoidance goals in socially anxious individuals. ​Motivation and Emotion 2015: 9499.

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