Did you know that February 17th each year is National Act of Kindness Day? This day, which originated in New Zealand, is founded upon the powerful belief in kindness.
Can something like holding the door for someone even have significance? It can, and in more ways than you’d imagine. What you think has little to no effect can change your life and the life of someone else.
Kindness- What Does it Mean?
Kindness is more than behavior; it is a quality of being. It is the spirit of helpfulness, as well as being generous and considerate, and doing so without expecting anything in return. The act of giving kindness can be simple and free.
Famous Examples of the Power of Kindness
In Mark Twain’s words - Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. People don't always remember what another person said to them, but kindness is never forgotten. We've seen unparalleled examples of kindness that prove this fact time and time again. Renowned personalities like Mother Teresa devoted their lives to helping the needy. Whenever a national-level disaster strikes, thousands of people jump in and donate to relief funds and aid.
How are we supposed to make an impact as big as the likes of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Abdul Sattar Edhi, and other humanitarians? It all starts with small acts. You never know when it can bring a dramatic change to someone’s life for the better.
What Happens When You’re Kind to Others?
Without a doubt, the most influential impact of spreading kindness is the ripple effect. In other words, when you are kind to someone, it sets off a chain reaction whereby the other person is motivated to do the same for another. Gradually, this is what makes the world a better place, where humanity thrives. So, next time you think that being kind to someone isn’t that impactful, remember that you’re playing your part for a better world.
How Does Spreading Kindness Affect Mental Health?
There’s more to the benefits of spreading kindness than meets the eye. You’re not just bringing joy to others but giving your mental health a boost. How does spreading kindness affect your psychological well-being? Over the years, researchers have conducted studies that show the immense effect of kindness on mental health - both for the receiver and the giver.
Decrease in Negative Feelings: There’s a hormone in your body called cortisol. When this hormone is produced excessively, you may start feeling stressed out, anxious, or depressed. A study with participants between 18-44 years old showed that those who practiced kindness every day reported reduced stress than those who didn’t.
Elevated Positive Feelings: Just as kindness reduces the negative hormones, it elevates the production of positive hormones. If you’ve heard of the love hormone, oxytocin, you already know what we’re talking about. Recent studies show that spreading kindness increases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. The combination of these hormones is known to make you feel satisfied, confident, and happy. The next time you feel a rush of happiness after being kind to someone, it’s real. That’s your brain chemicals at work.
Tips we sometimes tend to forget when it comes to kindness
Be Thoughtful: You don’t have to spend money to give a gift. Think about what the other person is going through and what you can offer. It could be walking their dog, meeting them for coffee or sending a note that you are thinking of them.
Remain Humble: Spreading kindness but then self-praising yourself ruins the entire concept. Kindness means to be nice without expecting anything in return. If you're going on about your good deeds, you're not doing it to be kind. Plus, you'll make the other person feel small, and that defeats the entire point when it comes to spreading kindness.
Be Kind to Yourself: We often dismiss the value and healing quality of kindness toward ourselves. We have been given only one body and mind. Thank your mind and body for all it does each day. Practice self-care, get proper sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, exercise and maintain healthy and nurturing relationships.
And finally—one more kernel of inspiration and reminder to make National Random Acts of Kindness Day every day—a few words from the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”