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TfL makes a call for compassion

TfL makes a call for compassion

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

This week, Matthew McGuinness, Innovation’s Creative Strategy Director, shows us how small words can have a big impact:

2020 was the most astonishingly (anti) ‘social’ year I have / most of us ever experienced.

I lived, worked, taught year four and raised a baby (alongside my superhero wife) in a 700-square foot house, office, school, nursery and, lest I forget, canteen.

Three meals a day plus snacks required our live-in chef to work overtime to cater to our (children’s) needs. That was our world; four rooms, two floors and a small garden were all that we have really known for the last year to call more than home—no significant fundamental interactions (besides Zoom) with neighbours and or friends and or family to report on.

A short time after the first lockdown, measures were eased in the UK. And the first wave of intrepid commuters caught sight of three morally inspired, beautifully colourful and bold communications dotting the bus and trains stations of their journey, in a return-to-life campaign from Transport for London (TfL).

(Don’t call it a comeback. Again.)

It’s safe to say that we could all do with a modest degree of social coaching on re-entering the wider world. We haven’t been around others (further than our immediate families – who have pledged to love us unconditionally). Maybe in all the time spent alone, we forgot that our actions and words carry consequence.

Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th and current Dalai Lama) said it best: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

It has been scientifically proven that prosocial behaviour, such as a smile, can help prevent or mitigate the adverse effects of stress and positively influence social anxiety and overall mental health. Random acts of kindness have been linked to both an increase in oxytocin and dopamine, inducing feelings of euphoria and general happiness.

It would seem that TfL has read and researched similar studies, such as the idea that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life, all before publishing their “Small Words. Big Impact” campaign.

Miranda Leedham, Head of Customer Marketing and Behaviour Change at Transport for London, said:

This campaign is important as it reminds us all that there are simple things we can also do to make everyone’s journey a bit more comfortable.

You heard it here first: Compassion is contagious (the good kind).

The Coronavirus has exercised an evidently negative impact on the social aspects of our lives, with isolation and the lack of meaningful physical interaction affecting our mental health. Some also lost people close to them during the pandemic and many require some connection or random act of kindness, now more than ever.

And it can be so simple to achieve. Remember, it’s the little things. As small as thanking the bus driver for safely taking you to your destination or a stranger for holding open the door for you. It could be inviting your friend to a cup of (virtual) coffee, or calling someone to check on them.

This particular image from the TfL campaign reminds us to pause and reflect – to try and do what it simply says on the tin: be kind. The things people are dealing with or going through is not necessarily visible on the surface. It has been more than a complicated year, and it will take some time to unpack the resulting emotional baggage – despite having spent the year not going anywhere.

From small acorns, mighty oaks grow. And from small hair grips…home ownership follows?

That’s one US woman’s hope, as she seeks to trade up objects until eventually she swaps for the keys to a new home.

The 29-year-old, Demi Skipper, began with a bobby pin; she’s now the proud owner of three tractors, which she acquired in return for a highly exclusive Chipotle celebrity card.

From trainers, to tractors, Demi has had an eccentric range of products pass through her hands. She is hoping, ultimately, to reach a house by the end of the summer.

You can follow her journey on her Instagram page here

This week’s tip comes from Junior Account Executive, Eddie Waller:

Since I could swim, I’ve been surfing. Be it in the sun or in the snow, I’d be out in the water trying to catch another wave. Although it got rough from time to time, I always came out of the sea feeling better than ever and wanting to jump straight back in.

As time has gone by, I’ve realised the buzz didn’t come from the surfing alone, but from the freezing cold water I had plunged myself into. Bodies of cold water can improve your circulation, deepen your sleep, spike your energy levels, and reduce inflammation in your body.

Perhaps one of the more interesting and recent discoveries is the link between cold water therapy and the alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety. In one such case, an individual who had suffered from depression  for seven years saw their symptoms decrease significantly after partaking in a weekly open water swim, so much so they could stop taking their medication.

Research is ongoing into the positive effects of cold-water therapy, but from experience it makes you feel amazing so pop down to a lido if you ever get that chance!

Follow this link to learn more about the benefits of cold water swimming.

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