Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. – Mark Twain
Have you ever received an unexpected compliment or has someone offered you their seat in a crowded waiting room? If your answer is yes, you’ve experienced a random act of kindness. So you know how a small gesture can lift your spirit and put a spring in your step. The same is true when we’re on the other end of the random act – it feels good to put a smile on someone’s face. I love the way that Random Acts of Kindness is defined in goodtherapy.org’s PsychPedia:
“The term refers to selfless acts, both large and small, that are committed unexpectedly, without prompting and with no apparent ulterior motive.”
Beautiful, right? As it turns out, there’s an entire week dedicated to random acts of kindness. This year it’s February 14 - 20, featuring National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday, February 17.
Not to be confused with an ulterior motive, there are some health benefits to be had when you perform acts of kindness. And when it comes to health benefits – both mental and physical, it’s all about the hormones. When you do something kind, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin all get a boost. Oxytocin is associated with empathy and trust (among other things) and is sometimes referred to as the Love Hormone, because levels increase during hugging and orgasm. A fan of euphoria, are you? - dopaminine is the hormone for you and serotonin, of course, helps with mood regulation. Who knew that being kind to others is also a form of self care?
Want some ideas to inspire your Random Acts of Kindness to do list? You’ve come to the right place. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Let the person behind you go ahead of you in the grocery line
- Look someone in the eye and smile
- Give a compliment
- Put coins in an expired parking meter
- Pass along a compliment to a service worker’s boss
- Write a positive review for a local, small business
- Write a thank you note to your mail carrier
- Contribute used books to your local school
- Send a friend a helpful article that made you think of them
Thank you to Jen Taylor for her article, 100 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas, that inspired this list. Here’s the link to all 100: CLICK HERE
And here are yet more ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:
- Be kind to your server
- Plant a tree
- Text someone good morning or good night
- Leave quarters at a laundromat
- Find out something new about a coworker
- Ask a senior about their past
- Write a positive comment on a website or blog
- Gift an inspirational book
- Buy lemonade from a stand
- Wheel out your neighbors trash bin
- Have a judgment free day
There’s lots more information on the topic at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website. This will get you there: CLICK HERE
Imagine a world where kindness is queen. Is that even possible? I don't have the answer, but we don't stand a chance of achieving it, unless we work toward that end together. So let’s make this Random Acts of Kindness Day the kick off for many days of kindness. Let’s make kindness our collective go to. Oh – and about the health benefits – not so much if kindness is a one-time thing. To really reap the benefits, the experts say you have to put in the time and make acts of kindness a way of life. A worthy venture when you consider the ripple effect of kindness and the fact that you'd be hard pressed to find a downside. Let kindness ripple!
We would love to hear from you! Have you given or received a random act of kindness lately? Leave a comment and tell us about it.