Did you know that people who are kind produce 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population? It’s true. Engaging in acts of kindness actually lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.
Science also shows that being kind rewards everyone with increased energy and well-being–even people viewing the kindness are infused with positive benefits.
CHECK OUT: 5 Side Effects of Kindness on Health
Formally recognized by President Clinton in 1995, Random Acts of Kindness Week has been spreading goodness each February (14–20 this year) for more than two decades, but the general trend goes back even farther.
A magazine article in the 1980’s by Anne Herbert – and her later book, Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty (first published by Conari Press in 1991) – began the ‘random acts of kindness’ craze that is abbreviated for social media to #RAK. Ms. Herbert was sitting in a Sausalito, California restaurant when she was first inspired to scribble these words on a place mat: “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
The idea has been carried into communities and churches and even picked up by a non-profit foundation.
This year, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is asking individuals to sign a Kindness Pledge and spread the word via social media about their #Pledge2BeKind. The organization would also like to collect as many personal stories as possible.
Kindness also has a natural way of spreading, without any organization at all. Stanford University studies show that when people are the recipients of kind words or deeds they are automatically more likely to behave kindly toward others–thus spreading the original generosity even further.
If health benefits and happiness aren’t enough for ambitious youth, consider a new report from Harvard that recommends that college applicants focus on kindness instead of overachieving.
Start Your Own Ripple… Try These Random Acts of Kindness This Week:
For People on Streets: Carry umbrellas or bundles of new socks in your car and hand them out when you see someone who could benefit.
Driving Through Restaurants and Tolls: Pay the bill for the next car behind you at a toll booth or a coffee shop, and you will get a delightful feeling.
Talk to Someone Waiting in Line with You: A simple gesture like talking to someone who is alone in line with you is an act of kindness. Be courageous the next time you get an inner nudging urging you to strike up a conversation. Most people have things in common and this kind of interchange can lead to happiness and even laughter, which others in line will envy.
Send Someone a Random Note or Email of Appreciation: Enhance your work relationship or reconnect with a beloved friend by dropping a quick note to them on their Facebook page or by email. Even better, send a card through the mail.
Compliment Others: Whether it is about how you look, or how they you feel, everyone enjoys hearing an unexpected compliment. Try to point out something good about each person you talk to this week.
Smile at Everyone You Pass: You will get health benefits just by smiling at people; and you never know when you will turn around someone’s bad mood with a cheerful hello and generous smile.
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