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Cover of Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting

Piers and Sanjay commuted on the same train daily for years. But, they were strangers who had never spoken. Piers was a disillusioned banker, and Sanjay was an anxious oncology nurse. On the surface, they had nothing in common. But underneath, they both faced professional stressors that left them lonely and isolated, even when surrounded by others. Everything changed when Piers choked on the train, and Sanjay saved his life. Sanjay's selflessness sets off a wave of kindness that alters each character’s trajectory.

Kindness, or choosing to do things to help others, is profoundly powerful. People who engage in acts of kindness report:

  • Reduced stress and isolation;

  • Increased self-esteem, sense of belonging, mood, and general happiness;

  • Improved perspective, or a more positive outlook, on life.


The good news is that kindness doesn’t need to cost money or overwhelm your schedule. With kindness, continuous small gestures can add up to a huge difference.


Some ways you can actively engage in kindness include:

Volunteer Within Your Community: Whether with a more formal community-based organization or simply helping out a neighbor in need, giving your time will help you feel more connected.


Meaningfully Connect: Try calling a friend you haven’t talked to recently or offering a listening ear to someone in need. While chatting, don’t forget to tell them how much you appreciate them. Both of you will get a self-esteem boost from it.


Help at Home: Offer to do a few extra chores or errands. You’ll feel proud of setting and completing a goal, and your family member or roommate will appreciate the assistance.

Make it a Habit: To experience the benefits of kindness, try doing one thing for someone else each day. Deepen the experience by maintaining a list of what you do, how it impacts others, and how you feel afterward.


Remember, sometimes all it takes is a smile.


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