As much as we love a self-care tool or investing in wellbeing-enhancing endeavors like therapy or mental health books, there are also wellness-boosting strategies that cost next to nothing — and can help others, as well as yourself.
According to new research in Frontiers in Psychology, you may get a sense of enhanced personal fulfillment (which may, in turn, lead to an improvement in feelings of wellbeing) from something as simple as giving and receiving thoughtful cards.
Embracing the lost art of a kind note
The study, using data collected by the UK-based public health project Kindness by Post, used a mixed-methods single-group design and the data of 289 participants. The goal of the study was to see how acts of kindness could influence wellbeing and loneliness.
The study’s general concept was simple: participants had the opportunity to make or buy — and then send — a card or letter to a stranger. The contents of the card or letter were meant to show goodwill via friendly, positive, considerate or compassionate messaging. Even if participants in the study sent a card, they had no guarantee to receive a card from a stranger.
What are the potential benefits of sharing a nice note?
By the end of the study, the researchers found that participants had a small though statistically significant improvement in their wellbeing (for those who sent a card) and improvements in factors like loneliness (when receiving a card from a stranger).
More ways to share kindness — while staying on budget — with ethical consumerism
At a time when more Canadians than ever are struggling with anxiety and depression, finding small, simple and inexpensive ways to share and boost positive feelings may be worth exploring.
Similarly, as Pay Day’s Lyn Allure explains in her video “How to be Ethical Without Going Broke,” it’s possible to use your day-to-day life, and spending, to find ways to support your community and be an ethical consumer that are inexpensive or even free. For example, you could choose to shop local more often, consider thrifting or donating pre-loved items.
Another idea? Take inspiration from the Kindness by Post project. If you are someone who enjoys sending cards, you can give back to your community by sending a nice card to a senior through a nonprofit to spread some positivity and brighten someone’s day.
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