“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.” - Ron Hall
In a study from the Journal of Social Psychology, researchers investigated the effects of a seven-day kindness activities intervention on changes in happiness. Participants were instructed to carry out acts of kindness during a seven-day period and the researchers measured ‘happiness’ of each person before and after the intervention. The study revealed that being kind to oneself, a friend or stranger and even witnessing acts of kindness boosted levels of happiness. There was also a positive correlation between the number of kind acts performed and the level of happiness reported.
Kindness has a ripple effect. Be the person that fosters kindness in others around you. We can’t force other people to be kind but we can influence others with our own kind acts and generosity. Kindness has many forms but the purest requires no pay-back. How do you show kindness to yourself, your family and even strangers that you meet?
Random Acts of Kindness Challenge: This week, do one small, kind thing each day for someone. At the end of the week, pay attention to the impact it’s had on you. You can also seek out videos online to observe others in the act of giving if you are unable to perform the kind acts yourself. It will still have a positive effect!
Here are 14 Random Acts of Kindness to try in the week ahead:
- Shovel a driveway or do some other chore for a neighbor
- Do a household chore that is your loved one’s responsibility
- Put your phone away and listen
- Give someone a compliment
- Send anonymous flowers to brighten someone’s day
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line
- Offer to help someone who seems to be struggling
- Drop-and-dash. Leave goodie bags and a heartfelt note on people’s doorstep
- Donate blood
- Bring food to an animal shelter
- Tidy up your table at a restaurant
- Put a quarter in an expired meter or pay someone’s parking ticket
- Volunteer your time
- Leave a positive review online for a business or restaurant that provided good service
Get creative and have fun being kind to others!
There is no better time to spread the love and sprinkle kindness in the world around you. February is not only home to Valentine’s Day but it’s also American Heart Month. Start by showing yourself some love and figure out what you need to be well. When we take care of ourselves first, we can fully be there for someone else. Improving your mental and emotional state will positively impact your physical wellbeing.
Rowland L, Curry OS. A range of kindness activities boost happiness. J Soc Psychol. 2019;159(3):340-343. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2018.1469461. Epub 2018 May 15. PMID: 29702043.
Written by: Kristin Bogdonas is the nutrition and wellness educator serving Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark Counties.