There is mountains of research on the benefits of being kind. Here are some of our faves from our Random Acts of Kindness friends overseas:
- The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!
- Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller!
- Doing acts of kindness reduces anxiety. During four weeks, University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week. The researchers found that doing nice things for people led to a significant increase in people's positive moods. It also led to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.
- Helping others increases energy! About half of participants in one study report that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
- People who volunteer live a longer more satisfied life.
- Giving makes us feel happy. A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves (despite participants’ prediction that spending on themselves would make them happier).
How to be kind
Being kind isn’t rocket science – we all do it everyday. But as it’s so beneficial, and so contagious, we thought we’d come up with a few tips and ideas so you can incorporate even more kindness into your day.
- Organise a ‘rescue package’ for a friend who needs a pick me up
- Give a smile away!
- Give someone a call or send an old school letter
- While driving, stop to let a car into the traffic.
- Offer to mow the grass verge of your neighbour.
- Donate old toys, books, sports equipment, clothes etc to a local charity.
- Help with school working bees and fundraisers.
- Offer to help an older neighbour with their wheelie bins on rubbish/recycling days.
- Give a compliment – acknowledge what someone in your life has done well.
- Give away some baking
Try our Share The Love gift generator for great ideas on how to be kind to people, or check out our own kindness missions below!