10 Books And 1 Journal That Bring Kindness To Your Life
The third week of February is Kindness Week in Canada. On June 3, 2021, Canada became the first country in the world to pass the Kindness Week Act through legislation. The Act is meant to promote “a culture of kindness in Canada throughout the year.”
Kindness Week encourages Canadians to perform random acts of kindness, volunteer their time, and be charitable. So buy a stranger a coffee, donate some winter clothes and blankets to a local shelter, help a neighbour, spend time helping a community in need, or give what you can to a cause that is dear to your heart. You don’t have to make big gestures to show kindness, simply find ways to incorporate kindness into everything you do.
People are inherently kind and caring, and, as demonstrated in two studies on human kindness posted in the Nature Human Behaviour journal, women lead the way. Here are 10 books and a journal created by women that highlight kindness to ourselves, others, and our planet.
UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP)
Get inspired by stories and poems of kindness from across the world. This book began as a global campaign launched by the MGIEP to gather proof that kindness makes real and long-lasting changes in the world. During the campaign, aptly named #KindnessMatters, the organization found inspiring and moving stories in which small acts of kindness made big impacts. These stories, told by the people who lived them, prove that kindness exists all around us and that #KindnessMatters every day.
2. Body Talk: How To Embrace Your Body and Start Living Your Best Life
It’s hard to spread kindness if you’re not being kind to yourself. Body Talk is an interactive guide that encourages readers to combat negative thoughts about their appearance and accept themselves, feel comfortable in their own skin, practice self-love, and focus on their “inner fierceness.” Katie Sturino shares her personal story and journey towards self-acceptance and reinforces her message through fun illustrations, affirmations, actionable steps, and opportunities for readers to write down their own reflections and journey. As Katie states, “Can you imagine how much free time you’d have if you didn’t spend so much of it body shaming yourself?” Use the lessons in this book to be kind to your body and use the time you’ve freed up to be kind to others.
3. Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness To Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive
Dr. Kristin Neff
Dr. Kristin Neff believes that kindness and self-compassion aren’t always gentle. Sometimes they have to be fierce. Gender roles have long defined women as soft, nurturing, giving, and kind. But kindness without fierce self-compassion has left women vulnerable to harm, injustice, and neglect of their own needs and wants. In this book, Dr. Neff draws on her research, personal experience, and evidence-based practice to show women how to use fierce and tender self-compassion to “reclaim balance within themselves, so they can help restore balance in the world.”
4. Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100
Kindness, a positive mindset, and a strong support system are the keys to living longer. In fact, Marta Zaraska has found that these lower our mortality risk by 45 percent. After reading scientific papers and interviewing experts in molecular biochemistry, epidemiology, and neuroscience, Marta concluded that having strong relationships, practicing empathy and kindness, and finding a purpose can improve your lifespan more effectively than fad diets and exercise. In this book, Marta shares stories of connection and kindness from all over the world and helps readers find the habits that will help them live a longer and more fulfilled life.
5. How To Save the World for Free: (Guide to Green Living, Sustainability Handbook)
The kindest thing we can do for ourselves, and others, is to help make our planet healthy and sustainable. Humans have lived off the earth’s bounty since the beginning of time, and it’s time that we return the kindness. That’s why environmental activist Natalie Fee created this handbook—to help us give back to our planet and save the world for us and our society. This guide provides tips and advice for making small changes in everyday life—from travel to clothes, exercise, and even sex—that will amount to lasting change. In addition to helping readers be kinder to the planet, this book helps affect change by donating 10 percent of all profits to City to Sea, a non-profit organization running campaigns to stop plastic pollution in our oceans.
6. Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving
Angela C. Santomero
Inspired by her mentor, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the words of the Dalai Lama (“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”), Angela C. Santomero created this book as a guide to changing your life through radical kindness. The book is separated into four sections: What is Radical Kindness?, Be Kind to Yourself, Be Kind to Others, and Radical Kindness for a Better World. This book explores important topics such as self-care, vulnerability, active listening, and the importance of asking for help. Angela’s message is that “kindness is the key to recognizing others, and ourselves, as worthy of love and understanding.”
7. Random Acts of Kindness: Inspiring True Stories
Dete Meserve and Rachel Greco
A random act of kindness means doing something nice for someone else without needing to be asked, acknowledged, or thanked, and without any expectation of reciprocation. It is simply being kind for the sake of kindness. Co-authors Dete Meserve and Rachel Greco filled this book with stories of genuine altruism in which everyday people of all ages spread kindness, show compassion, and make a difference for others. These emotional and meaningful stories will inspire you and take you on a heart-warming journey of discovering goodness and kindness in the world.
8. Social Justice Parenting: How To Raise Compassionate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World
Dr. Traci Baxley
Kindness begins at home. If we want to create an accepting, caring, and kind world for everyone, then we have to teach the next generation to be compassionate and socially conscious. Dr. Traci Baxley is a professor of education whose 30-year career has been focused on teaching diversity and inclusion. She is also a parent to five children. She knows better than anyone that children live what they learn at home. In this book, Dr. Baxley not only provides readers with guidance for teaching kids about social justice but also provides parents with tools to help them challenge their own biases, take inventory of their own actions and beliefs, develop self-awareness and accountability, and become role models for their children. With her expert guidance, Dr. Baxley helps parents raise compassionate, caring, and kind individuals.
9. The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Eliminating Fear, Creating Trust, and Leading with Kindness
Kindness should extend beyond our personal lives, but kindness isn’t often thought of as an attribute of good leadership. Author Karyn Ross sets out to change that by outlining how kind leadership creates a happier work environment, allows for cooperation and collaboration, and ultimately makes for a kinder and more dedicated organization. This book presents theory, case studies, stories, and reflections from leaders and the people they influence, as well as exercises for readers to record their own processes and outcomes as they work to become kind leaders.
10. The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn
Melissa Holbrook Pierson
Author Melissa Holbrook Pierson believes that we can learn a lot about kindness from the way we train dogs. The world of dog training has been moving away from force and obedience to kindness and cooperation. In this book, Melissa explores how kindness is the best motivator for any animal, including humans, and how receiving kindness conditions us to respond in kind. Backed by science, behaviour analysis, and experience, this book will transform readers’ views of human behaviour and will bring out compassion for all animals—humans included.
The Kindness Journal: 6 Minutes a Day to Your Happiest You
Reading about kindness is the perfect motivation and inspiration to incorporate kindness into our lives. Take action and show kindness every day—to yourself, others, animals, and our planet—and improve your happiness, well-being, and life. This journal will help you reflect, refocus, and reset in just six minutes a day. With writing prompts and words of wisdom, there is room for creativity and learning as you record your intentions, actions, and progress in becoming kinder.
Even though Kindness Week is only observed in Canada—for now—kindness is universal. We all have different experiences, stories, needs, and goals, but one thing that connects us is our need for kindness. A kind act will lift anyone’s spirits, will make any person feel seen and valued, and will inherently create more kindness in the world. When we are actively kind, we work together to create a healthier, happier, and more connected society and a more sustainable world. So be kind, this week and always.