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Set a chain of kindness in motion each day

Stay close: Nina London with her mother, Vera (File photograph)

I know one simple and wonderful recipe for happiness. If we feel sad and want to cheer ourselves up, we can give a gift to another person. A special gift of love, friendship, attention and care. We can support those who are feeling down and stressed and struggling with loneliness with a small act of thoughtfulness. I call it a chain of kindness. You can start it anytime. It’s as easy as telling someone you love them. What better time to say it? There are so many things that we can do for other people in these times of isolation, fear and uncertainty. We want to feel connected even though we can’t meet with each other. So, do the best you can to communicate often by phone, e-mail, text or video. It’s so important to make the effort and not lapse into listless solitude. I believe that in these days, especially, we need to feel loved and to express love. We want to hear words of support, care and attention. You need no excuse to tell your family, friends or even colleagues how much you appreciate them being in your life.There is no time like the present to let your loved ones know how proud you are of them. You can never say it too often.One of the things we can do is to show our appreciation, even to those we don’t know. I was so moved by a video I saw recently where everyone went out on their balconies at 6pm each evening to clap for five minutes for all the exhausted healthcare professionals. It was such a simple but eloquent way to show gratitude, appreciation and recognition to the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines doing their hard and dangerous work. I start and end my day by calling my mom. We usually talk for an hour or more. She has been in lockdown in her small apartment in San Francisco for more than a month. She is 82 and alone. She needs my attention now more than ever. When we talk, I make her promise to do some physical exercise each day but it is the sound of my voice, my caring and attentive presence that is most important. Think of anyone you know who might be experiencing loneliness due to isolation. Reach out to them. They will never forget it.Sending someone a text with a photo helps. It only takes a moment. A phone call is good, but a video chat on WhatsApp or Messenger is so much better!We can even motivate others. I sent a short video to my daughter in Maine to inspire her to go for a walk every morning by her house. Getting some fresh air and sunshine cheered her up beyond words. She just needed a little push from me to make it happen.My friend has two cats and I frequently send her hilarious videos I come across of cats doing crazy things. It is a simple glue that binds our friendship. There are so many ways to help each other, but I suggest this: every day, do three acts of kindness. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.Kindness creates gratitude, and gratitude leads to compassion. When we are compassionate, kindness flows effortlessly to those who need it most. This is my chain of kindness. If you set it in motion each day, you will find it changes you and those around you for ever. You will find yourself smiling, even in these difficult times.• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at ninalondon.com