Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Read about the 2018 winners of the award at

Register now for the 2019 Employee Recommended Workplace Awards at Get feedback from your staff and get recognized for your excellence in health and wellness.

The alarm goes off on Jim’s phone, signalling it’s time for him to head out for his 3 p.m. appointment. The traffic is heavier than he expected so he’s running behind and feels he needs to hurry or he’ll be late. He finally gets to the building and sees the elevator door closing as he’s running to catch it. Just before the door fully closes a hand pops out to make the doors open again.

Story continues below advertisement

Jim jumps on the elevator with a smile and says thank you to the helpful senior citizen. Her response is simple: a smile followed by, “It was my pleasure to help.” Jim replies, “Once again, thank you. I find that many of us are often rushing and don’t take a moment for a simple act of kindness, like you just did for me.”

The lady smiles back and says, “I’m sure you’ll return the favour to someone else, as it doesn’t take much effort to be kind.”

This micro skill reinforces how simple acts of kindness can help another person meet a need, can reduce stress and can boost your mood.

Performing an act of kindness shifts our attention to a positive that can be helpful when our mind is busy worrying or stressing.


Keeping up with all the demands of life can be a grind for some of us. The kind lady who held the door for Jim demonstrated how little effort it can take to help another person meet a need. Acts of kindness begin with a level of awareness outside of ourselves and a willingness to help another person or provide a spontaneous gift. Kindness benefits the receiver and giver when it’s done with pure intention with no expectation to receive anything in return. A true act of kindness is typically a two-way gift, with benefits for both receiver and giver.


Story continues below advertisement

To benefit from this micro skill requires being open to the notion that doing something nice for another person – regardless how small the act of kindness – can benefit both parties. Many people have days when we’re on a treadmill that has us constantly rushing from point A to point B to keep up with the demands of the day. This drive to keep up can result in tunnel vision and you forget to pay attention to what’s around you. Acts of kindness are often not planned; they’re spontaneous. It doesn’t take planning or a lot of effort to participate. It only takes a willingness to notice and be open to opportunities to provide an act of kindness to a stranger or someone you know.


It doesn’t take much effort to consciously engage in acts of kindness, other than a willingness to be kind to others. Luckily, there are many kind people, and acts of kindness happen every day. We’ll all be healthier and happier if we can experience acts of kindness as well as perform acts of kindness for others.

Here are some tips to become more engaged and aware of acts of kindness:

Opt in to kindness – To benefit from acts of kindness requires accepting the benefits. One way to explore the benefits is over the next 24 hours to perform three simple acts of kindness. For example, hold the door open for a colleague or put extra water in the kettle at work so it will boil faster for the next person.

Define what acts of kindness mean to you – Acts of kindness are things we do for people we know or don’t know to help them meet a need. It’s helpful to brainstorm the many opportunities you have each day to do things for others without being asked that can help them out. For example, you get home early from work and notice your son hasn’t cut the grass yet. You know he’s working hard at school, so you decide to cut the grass for him and text him to tell him not to worry about it today; you gave him a week off.

Story continues below advertisement

Promote social kindness – Commit to not engage in gossip of any kind, or to complain about others behind their back. People can be cruel to each other. When we make a commitment not to tease or judge others we’re helping to stop and prevent peer negativity.

Notice the benefits – Notice how you feel when you perform an act of kindness. Notice if you feel good. If you feel regret or any negative emotion, it isn’t an act of kindness. When you notice how you feel, you’re reinforcing the benefits and strengthening the likelihood that you’ll do more things for others. Our mental health can be positively impacted when we can shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do have in the moment.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto.

You can find all the stories in this series at

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies