If Random Acts of Kindness Day sounds like another gimmick in an overloaded calendar, read on - we think it deserves your attention.
However you feel about our turbulent time, it’s fair to say we’ve become decidedly less ‘nice!’ Stressed and busy, it’s much easier to bury ourselves in tech than engage with those around us.
Random Acts of Kindness Day dares you to break out of your self-protective bubble and do something altruistic. This could be as small as letting someone off the train before you, paying for a stranger’s coffee or giving an extra-generous tip.
What’s more, as the Mental Health Foundation advocates, when you expel kindness, you’re likely to make yourself (as well as others) feel better. Just last week the MH Foundation published a full report on why doing good does you good too, stating: ‘Evidence shows that helping others can have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing.' This included a reduction in stress levels, improved mood, levels of self-esteem and happiness.
Helping others has even been shown to promote physiological changes in the brain that are linked to feelings of positivity, says research by Dr. S Post published in the 2014 Biennial Scientific Report on Health.
An altruistic deed, like giving up your seat on the bus or taking your neighbour’s recycling bin out has long term as well as immediate benefits. Acts of kindness will make you and your acquaintances feel positively that day, and help strengthen your connections with others.
The number of people we can depend on is considered a good way to measure human happiness. For those seeking greater connection with their communities, random acts of kindness can be a great way to initiate and strengthen bonds, giving you a sense of belonging and security.
When it comes to acts of kindness, we tend to assume people are on the receiving end. But, just as people can be human or cruel to animals, people can be kind to nature. When we put good energy into our plant collection, our plants thrive, and we do too!