Why be kind?
Because it makes you a nicer person, helps someone else, and gradually makes the world a better place. As young kids, we’re biologically wired to be kind, but it gets lost somewhere along the way… Luckily, being kind is a trait you can develop through active practice and repetition. Besides: science says being kind is good for your health! Here’s why.
It’s easy to do
Kind acts and gestures don’t have to be daunting – simply smiling at a stranger or holding the door for someone can make a big difference in their day. You can also use your natural skills to be kind: create handmade cards to put in post boxes, bake cupcakes for the local shelter, fix an elderly neighbour’s rickety fence… Think of something small but specific that might really make someone’s day.
“My cousin turned 18 while in iso, so for his 18th his younger brothers decided to give him a gift: INTERNET. They both stayed off the internet for a full day so that he could have exclusive access and speed for the whole day!”
It makes us better people
Kindness helps us relate to other people and improves our relationships with friends, family and even strangers we encounter every day. Being kind to others helps you develop strong, meaningful relationships and friendships, which expands your horizons and adds meaning to your life. Something to live for!
“After I went round to do the bins around Egerton Court, I saw [the elderly man] again and asked if he was okay with groceries and he said he’ll get by. I said tell me what you need and I’ll get you it. I hate to see people struggling especially during a time like this. I asked him where he lived and went to the Co-Op and bought some essentials. I thought it would be a nice thing to do for him and gave it to him through his doorway. He was so grateful. He was nearly in tears. He didn’t have a lot in I don’t think. People were panic buying and he couldn’t buy his essentials. I gave him stuff I didn’t use in the cupboards as well. I just thought it would be a good deed to do.” \
– Refuse vehicle driver David Cairns on helping an elderly man by buying him groceries.
Being kind releases feel-good hormones
When you do something nice for someone, you feel better too. This is because being kind boosts your serotonin and endorphins – something that’s actually known as “helper’s high”. Kindness eases anxiety If you struggle with anxiety, adding a small act of kindness to your day (alongside other positive actions such as meditation and exercise) can help you feel better. A study on happiness from the University of British Columbia (UBC) showed that “social anxiety is associated with low positive affect (PA), a factor that can significantly affect psychological well-being and adaptive functioning.” Positive affect refers to our experience of positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. UBC researchers found that participants who engaged in kind acts displayed significant increases in PA that were sustained over the four weeks of the study.
“The government says the $750 is for us to spend to help the economy. I need nothing that I can think to spend it on and have thought that I would like to donate to your business. You are certainly part of the economy and we very much admire your efforts to create a wonderful new family business. We hope this helps in a small way.”
– anonymous note left with a cash donation for Melbourne café owner Pierre Patole
Kindness heals your heart
In quite a literal way, too: being kind releases the “cardioprotective” hormone oxytocin, which can reduce your blood pressure and improve the chemical balance of your heart. So, being kind makes you big hearted, so to speak!
“Cookies for the ER staff; crafting and mailing bracelets to brighten the days of those young and old quarantined at home; assembling and distributing care kits for 100 of my neighbors; crafting a large ‘thank-you’ sign and sending dozens of packets of calming chamomile tea to the ER staff during the worst COVID-19 week in Wisconsin; making a paper chain for a medical care worker and her husband (also a medical professional) as they count down to a special reunion.”
– Shannon Schultz, 45 Acts of Random Kindness
Kindness combats stress
We’re all under an immense amount of stress at the moment, so it’s easy to lose your cool and be rude to strangers or snappy at your loved ones. But taking a breath and rethinking an action to make it kinder can actually help you cope with stress by taking a break from your own stressors for a while so that you can help others. This is part of “affiliative behaviour”: any behaviour that builds your relationships with others. Studies on prosocial behaviour have shown that “affiliative behaviour may be an important component of coping with stress and indicate that engaging in prosocial behaviour (action intended to help others) might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress on emotional functioning.”
Those are all powerful reasons to be kind – so get out there, #standforkindness and Pay It Forward to someone who needs some TLC!