National Random Acts of Kindness Day: three acts of daily kindness
We all know that kindness makes the world go round, but in today’s world it is still often undervalued. Thursday, February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness day and the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation encourages everyone to “Make Kindness the Norm”. There are obvious reasons kindness is an incredibly positive quality. Being friendly, generous, and considerate brightens the days of the people around you and spreads these positive qualities to others.
Giving kindness and acting with kindness throughout your daily life is a simple way to live with less stress, more meaning, and more connection. But, did you also know that kindness is actually good for your mental and physical health? Let’s look at the ways kindness impacts the mind and body and the three best everyday ways of being kind.
What does kindness do for your health?
Kindness is scientifically proven to improve your health. According to The Mayo Clinic, “Kindness has been shown to increase self-esteem, empathy and compassion, and improve mood. It can decrease blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone, which directly impacts stress levels.”
Even witnessing acts of kindness between others promotes these positive reactions. It’s like an interconnected web. Since we connect with others in more meaningful and positive ways through kindness, we bridge gaps, and build links between ourselves, loved ones and complete strangers. Doing an act of kindness or witnessing one, just promotes more opportunities for it. It is a good thing these acts are contagious because they produce Oxytocin. Oxytocin is occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health.
There are other chemical reactions that actually happen during these small events. “Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up. Endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killer, also can be released.” So act kind and enjoy the physical benefits all day long.
Three Acts of Daily Kindness
An exercise that is easily incorporated into your routine is a quick daily gratitude and kindness check in. You can do this by making a simple mental note or actually take 3-5 minutes to jot down the things you are grateful for that day, and one or more things you did that were deliberately kind, in the moment, and without the expectation of anything in return.
Simply reflecting at the end of the day, “when was a time I was deliberately, unconditionally kind to someone today?” and making a mental note of the times when you were able to do that for someone. Taking a moment to reflect and be mindful of these choices of kindness can promote more acts of random kindness in the next day. You may be able to see more opportunities to do something kind when you start reflecting on when unconditional and deliberate kindness was able to occur.
Use your natural gifts and the things you enjoy to propel your acts of kindness. You don’t have to go out of your way to reinvent the wheel or do something you don’t necessarily like just to be kind. Being giving with your time, affection, money, or words all present different opportunities for kindness.
If you have free time, helping someone with chores, tasks or errands could brighten their day. Even being physically present for someone who is feeling a little lonely or needs some quality time. If you are one of those people that gives great handshakes, high fives or awesome hugs - be generous with those who are open to receiving them! Donate your money, clothes, food or time to charity or someone less fortunate. If you have extra change in your pocket, leave it at the vending machine for someone else to find.
Lastly, words are the most powerful tool for good and bad. Use your words to make positive impacts throughout the day. Give someone a genuine compliment when you appreciate something about them, look someone in the eye and say thank you. Your natural character and qualities are what makes you special and kind. Be extra generous with your strengths.
Be Kind to Yourself
Many times it can be easier to give than receive, especially with kindness. Maybe it is easier to give a compliment to others than yourself, or to give up something so that someone else can be happier. But don’t forget about you! Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and your needs first. You should extend the same grace, generosity and kindness to yourself. Before you go spreading love and compassion to others, give yourself some words of kindness and some positive affirmations. Also, don’t forget to let others help you and allow the space for others to share an act of kindness with you.
This Thursday we encourage everyone to normalize kindness by not only inviting it into your everyday life through your reactions or responses, but also to seek out opportunities for random acts of kindness. Don’t forget to share and spread the kindness generously and to post photos and ideas to our online community Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together, using the hashtags #MakeKindnessTheNorm, #RandomActsofKindnessDay, and #RAKDay. We are wishing you an extra friendly day.