Many people experience difficult life changes after brain injury. Feelings of loss and isolation are common. A good number of people are unable to work and many face financial strains. Many people feel that they have few, if any, good relationships. Good relationships ranks high on the list of things people want most in their lives.
After a brain injury, you may be thinking, “I have no money, how can I do the things I need to do to have good relationships?” We know that being kind to others is one of the best ways to build relationships and there are many ways to do so. Being kind doesn’t necessarily mean spending lots of money. The list below will give you some ideas about how you can be nice to others. Take a look at the list and try out the ideas. Be creative and try some other things that aren’t on the list.
Try to do at least one nice thing for someone every day. You’ll brighten someone else’s day as well as your own!
- Don’t be shy about complimenting other people. Think about what you like about other people and tell them.
- Pick flowers or vegetables from your garden and give them to others.
- Share a comic strip, story, joke, magazine article, or book.
- Hold the door or the elevator for someone.
- If someone drops something, pick it up for them.
- Tell someone who helps you how much you appreciate them.
- Offer to babysit for someone, take care of their pet, or help with their chores, so they can have some time off.
- Buy someone a snack, coffee, tea, or soda.
- Bake someone cookies, brownies, or a cake.
- Make someone dinner if they are having a hard week.
- Listen carefully and patiently when other people are talking to you.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try not to assume they are doing something to be mean or difficult.
- Offer to keep someone company.
- Mow your neighbor’s lawn, rake their leaves, or shovel their walk.
- Write someone a kind note, letter, or email.
- Draw someone a picture or make and send a friendly card. A number of companies offer free cards you can customize and send by email.
- When you find a helpful website, share the address with others who might be interested.
- Offer a ride to a friend or family member.
- Drop a few coins in someone’s parking meter if their time has run out.
- Offer to help someone carry his bags at the store.
- Offer to help someone in need.
- On a nice day, invite a friend to go for a walk or go to the park.
- Share a stick of gum from every pack you buy.
- Donate clothes, books, or other things you no longer use to someone in need.
- Give family or friends homemade coupons they can cash in for favors from you.
- Adopt a pet from a shelter.
- Help a friend or neighbor move in or out.
- Offer to help someone organize or clean her house (including basement and garage).
- Offer to pick up your neighbors’ mail and newspaper when she goes away, and water her plants.
- Volunteer your time to your church, local library, or other community organization.
- Smile and say good morning or good afternoon to people.
This column was written by Lee Livingston, PsyD, Jeff Kreutzer, PhD, and Laura Taylor, PhD from the National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury (NRC). The mission of the NRC is to provide relevant, practical information for professionals, persons with brain injury, and family members. For more information about helpful materials published through the NRC including the Recovering Relationships book, please check our website (www.neuro.pmr.vcu.edu) or call Mary Beth King at 804.828.9055 or toll free at 1.866.296.6904 to request a catalog.