I recently watched a video about a young man in a far away country who spent his 22nd birthday performing 22 acts of kindness. It touched my heart and made me think about how these simple acts not only made others feel good but made the young man feel good as well.
Research shows that being actively kind increases one’s happiness, and happier people are more likely to help others. No matter how simple or involved the act may be, the research is consistent.
Put simply, kindness makes you happy and happiness makes you kind. Cool, right? What a wonderful positive feedback loop!
A recent study found that kids in school became happier and more popular with their peers when performing acts of kindness as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a heavily researched link between happiness and health — cultivating happiness is a healthy habit!
This coming week (4/11-4/17) is Random Acts of Kindness Week. I want to challenge you to participate in this effort to increase collective kindness, and therefore, happiness. There are hundreds of simple things we can do to be kind, but here are a few ideas to help you along this coming week:
Monday, Feb 11—Smile at people as you pass by and watch the changes that come over them and yourself.
Tuesday, Feb 12—Pay for the next person in line. Maybe it’s their coffee, their bridge toll or drive-thru lunch.
Wednesday, Feb 13—Call an old friend or family member and watch what happens as the moment unfolds.
Thursday, Feb 14—Make a special treat for a neighbor or your co-workers.
Friday, Feb 15—Give an extra hand to someone at work or a teacher at your kid’s school.
Saturday, Feb 16—Be kind to yourself and your family and cook a healthy meal. Don’t forget that random acts of kindness are for you too!
Sunday, Feb 17—In the grocery store, the theater, or the department store, let someone go in front of you in line.
Even if you can’t participate everyday, take a small step and try one of the above suggestions — or try something else that moves you. Find out for yourself if the research is accurate by experiencing it first-hand. Does it feel good to do an act of kindness? And how does the one receiving respond? Are they happier too? Try it out for yourself and find out!