Here are a few practical things you can start doing today towards a kinder and happier version of you:

  1. Practice empathy and active listening: Put yourself in others’ shoes and try to understand their perspectives and feelings. This will help you respond with kindness and compassion.
  2. Be mindful of your words and actions: Choose your words and actions carefully, considering how they may impact others. Aim to be kind, supportive, and respectful in your interactions.
  3. Cultivate gratitude: Regularly express gratitude for the people and things in your life. It shifts your focus to the positive aspects, fostering happiness and contentment.
  4. Engage in acts of kindness: Look for opportunities to help others and perform random acts of kindness. It can be as simple as holding the door for someone or offering a genuine compliment.
  5. Practice forgiveness: Let go of grudges and resentments. Forgiving others (and yourself) frees up mental and emotional space for happiness and positivity.
  6. Build meaningful connections: Nurture your relationships and invest time in building deeper connections with friends, family, and colleagues. Genuine connections contribute to happiness and a sense of belonging.
  7. Take care of yourself: Prioritize self-care and self-compassion. Pay attention to your physical and mental well-being through activities like exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities you enjoy.
  8. Avoid negativity and comparison: Limit exposure to negative influences like toxic people, social media comparisons, and self-criticism. Surround yourself with positivity and focus on your own progress and growth.
  9. Practice mindfulness and self-reflection: Take time to be present in the moment, observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment, and reflect on your actions and their alignment with your values.
  10. Work towards a positive attitude and mindset: Approaching life with a positive attitude, optimism, and a growth mindset can attract positive experiences and opportunities. By cultivating a positive mindset and focusing on constructive actions, we increase the likelihood of favourable outcomes.

Remember, becoming kinder and happier is a journey that requires consistent effort and self-awareness. Start with small steps and be patient with yourself. Over time, these practices will become ingrained habits, leading to positive transformations in your life which can contribute to personal growth, well-being, and building fulfilling relationships with others.

EMH’s mental health support team offers free in-person counselling (individual or couples), and referrals to gay, bi and other men who have sex with men in Johannesburg. If you’re experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety or dealing with trauma, relationship problems, or even stress about coming out, WhatsApp call or message 063 649 5116. (We can also refer you to other services outside the Johannesburg area.)