As the founder/CEO of Drunk Yoga®, I’ve made it my life’s work to unlock “kindness hacks” for corporations by combining yoga and interactive storytelling through 60-90 minute corporate team-building experiences.
“Drunk Yoga” might raise some eyebrows, but it’s just a provocative name for a company with quite yogic spirits. We break down barriers to a conventional yoga practice that keep many would-be yogis from ever trying it, for fear of intimidation.
We do this by infusing the social ritual of a happy hour or morning coffee with yoga plus group games and icebreakers. The goal? To rethink how we, as a society, cultivate joy through community-building. We aim to combat loneliness (it’s an epidemic!) by fostering practical techniques for kindness, woven into the structure of our class experience—and you know what? It works.
A 2019 Forbes article dissects the effects that practiced kindness in the workplace has on productivity and camaraderie. The results were unsurprisingly in favor of kindness.
The article states:
“The most interesting aspect of the study was to show that such acts of kindness are also contagious. So, there was an increasing amount of ‘prosocial’ behavior with employees feeling that they were part of a unit and a workplace that looked after them and cared about them. People not only reciprocated the acts of kindness by taking the initiative to find out who had been kind to them but also paid it forward to others, thereby spreading the feeling of generosity.”
Pretty great, right? But, as simple a concept as “being nice” might sound, interpolated into our culture is a “me before you” mindset that can make us resistant to being generous for the heck of it.
We might worry that our kindness makes us appear weak, or that generosity might help the “other guy” get ahead faster and leave you in the dust.
Good news, though:
Like most things, kindness and empathy can be learned through practice and discipline. (Whew!)
To get you started on your journey to cultivating sustainable joy through community-care, here are three tips on integrating acts of kindness into your everyday life:
- Ritualize Gratitude. Super simple! Keep a gratitude journal and write 10 things/people/memories you’re grateful for in it every morning and/or evening. With an attitude of personal gratitude, you’re more equipped to spread some much-needed light to others. BONUS – Email/text (or hey, if you’re feeling bold, use your phone to call someone!) five individuals each week and tell them something specific about them or your relationship that you’re grateful for. Pro tip: Schedule all five emails on a Sunday to be sent on Monday, so you’ve done it all at once in a restful state of mind, and your people will receive a nice positivity treat in their inbox first thing Monday morning. Five individuals might sound like a lot, but I promise–once you get started, it’s hard to stop! Remember: gratitude is contagious. You’ll reap the currency of this kindness immediately.
- Practice generosity. Make a habit out of leaving a tip everywhere you go–the coffee shop, your sandwich place, the…wherever people are still going during a pandemic… Also, be the person who pays for the coffee/salad/glass of wine. A simple, “Oh, don’t worry, this round’s on me! It’s my pleasure,” will mean the world to the recipient. It’ll make them feel important and cared for, and ready to pay it forward. Reminder: People don’t necessarily remember what you did, but they remember how you made them feel.
- Indulge in random acts of kindness. This one is my favorite! Have some fun discovering new ways to lend a helping hand. Maybe it’s being extra attentive when you’re driving to smile and wave and let others in your lane when they’re in a rush–or if you’re in NYC, be the mensch who offers your subway seat to a child or person in need. Hold doors for others, pick up a stray piece of litter and throw it in the garbage (use your hand sanitizer!), and during your next Zoom meeting, be the person who shows up early and asks everyone how their kids are doing. Wherever you are and whenever you can, look for an opportunity to be helpful. Shine your light so that others can shine theirs, and the whole world will brighten.