The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible.” He then added, “It is always possible.” In a day and age where we are bombarded by so much vitriol, so much conflict, anger, hate, and oppression, let us remember the often unseen but far-reaching effects of regular and constant acts of kindness. Not only does it strengthen those around us, but science shows it strengthens ourselves as well.
Take a look at this video from RandomActsOfKindness.org:
Kindness brings happiness
When we are kind, our brains release a hormone called oxytocin. This chemical not only makes us feel better, but it can also protect our heart health. You may have heard of the “helper’s high?” This is why.
Kindness breeds kindness
Have you ever witnessed a change in someone when someone else is kind to them? The Mayo Clinic shares the following story:
“Food for thought: Reportedly, one person in Winnipeg, Manitoba, picked up the tab for the next car in line at a coffee-and-sandwich drive-through. This inspired the next person to do to the same. The chain continued for an astonishing 226 customers!”
Kindness combats anxiety and depression
Did you know you can combat anxiety and depression with kindness? Some of us struggle with these issues more than others. We may need medication or therapy, and while kindness may be unable to replace medicine or therapy, studies show kindness can have a positive effect. According to a study by the University of British Columbia, “participants who engaged in kind acts displayed significant increases in positive affect (PA) that were sustained over the 4 weeks of the study.” If you experience anxiety and depression, add more acts of kindness to your day. It could help.
Little ways to show kindness
Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” You never know how far a kind act will go. You never know how much a kind word can mean. We don’t always know what people are struggling with, but some say everyone is struggling with something. Imagine if you’re the force for good in their lives. Imagine a few ways you can help.
- Open the door for someone.
- Let the struggling mother cut in front of you at the grocery store.
- Let someone over in traffic.
- Say hello to strangers, and smile.
- Offer a compliment to three people at work.
- Invite a friend to share a meal together.
- Buy an extra box of girl scout cookies and share them with someone.
- Volunteer at church, school, or in your community.
- Pick one person you know and build them up, consistently, for a month, over-and-over again.
“No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.”Kevin Heath