When Kindness Can and Kindness Counts
Random acts of kindness
I am sure it is safe to say we have experienced both sides of the coin here. You are walking along and drop something of yours without knowing: A kind stranger picks it up and gives it back to you. Someone opens the door for you or tells you that you have paid too much. There are so many day-to-day, simple, day-changing examples. Kindness presents itself in millions of forms and is just waiting to be GIVEN! Kindness can and Kindness counts.
Unfortunately, the same is true for that and those who are unkind and hurtful: the bully at school, the selfish person on the bus or that greedy individual in the shop. They too come in their numbers and when we experience their negativity, it casts an ugly shadow on our day.
When the world was forced into change – COVID-19
The world is in a weird place… are we living in a strange movie? Who would have thought that 2020 would throw us into a pandemic and literally shut the world down? One thing, though, is that it has shown me how much kindness exists in people’s hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I am hearing of these amazing acts of kindness and my heart wants to burst. The mailman, while doing his rounds, buys some treats for some of the children on his route because they stuck at home. The care that people are showing to the elderly. The food parcels donated to the underprivileged and poor. The teachers who are reaching out to their students, buying them meals, helping with schoolwork. The list goes on: it’s beautiful and inspiring.
Knowing how to get more of it!
We know the attributes of kindness, but do we really know where kindness comes from? Some people are born with a gentleness and a heart which desires to be kind. We all know those sweet, gentle souls that look for ways to show kindness. Incredibly, though, there are two ways we can all grow in kindness. Research shows that
Kindness is learned and teachable!
It is like a muscle in our brains that needs exercising. The more it works, the stronger it becomes and the more it wants to find ways to be kind. We can teach ourselves and others how to be kind, encouraging their kindness muscles to grow and mature.
Kindness is contagious!
Everyone who witnesses and experiences someone else’s kindness gets that same positive effect in the brain. It’s like ink in water; it cannot be contained and it can’t help but spread. Kindness helps to improve their mood and makes them significantly more likely to ‘pay it forward’. We can look at kindness like it is a good virus, spreading from one person to the next. The kind of virus we would all like to get. Can you imagine kindness in crowded places? Splendid! Let kindness be the virus, not negativity or selfishness. Remember this saying: Kindness begets kindness!
Displaying and witnessing acts of kindness promotes health benefits! It releases oxytocin (“the happy hormone”) in our brain, which is known for helping lower blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we are anxious or shy in a social situation. Studies even show that kindness helps increase our energy levels.
Accompanying all of these, research shows that those who volunteer on a regular basis have been found to live longer and happier lives.
And the goodness continues… kindness helps stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy! The list goes on…
Kindness increases our happiness: A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are unselfish and those who were financially generous- were happiest!
In one word – Happiness! Kindness produces happiness all around, from the person who is giving, the person receiving and the onlookers.
The benefits continue
Kindness aids in the decrease of harmful bodily responses to negativity and stress because it has such a powerhouse effect on our brain- in releasing so many good and beneficial chemicals and hormones (mentioned above). Perpetually kind people experience less pain, less stress (helps curb cortisol production), less anxiety, less depression and even lowers blood pressure.
All these incredible benefits are all thanks to the simple, humble human trait of kindness!
We could go on and on. We all know the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ in the bible. The man who shows kindness without wanting anything in return- will always receive the honor.
The good guy finishes best, not last. That saying about the good guy finishing last- load of rubbish. Be good to people! In their eye’s you will be remembered for your kindness more than anything else you achieve.
It’s two-fold though
Along with showing Kindness to others, it’s just as important to show kindness to yourself! Like with everything in life, what you share and show to the world- you need to share and show to you and your family first. If you are unkind to yourself, all the benefits of kindness fall away and become worthless. In deciding to be kind and reach out, make sure you are also reaching out to those closest- you included! Please keep in mind that hurt people hurt people. If you are hurting in some way, reach out and get help. Help yourself and help others! You will be helping conquer the world and your own heart.
Keep it on your mind!
Just remember the next time you are dealing with someone and you want to be grumpy, you want to be snappy; they could be falling apart inside and doing everything in their power to try stay sane, to just hold it together. Remember, you don’t know the ‘behind the scenes’ so be kind. Together let’s create a culture of kindness that remains the forever culture. I choose to believe that Covid-19 has benefited the world in making us more human-focused and less self-centred!
Remember- Kindness can and kindness counts. Kindness changes the world one piece at a time.