Everyone has heard the phrase “random acts of kindness”. Oprah has dedicated numerous show to people who have done this and to inspire everyone to do this.
What exactly is a random act of kindness?
A random act of kindness is a purportedly selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases even an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities.
Why must we perform random acts of kindness?
Obviously, many of us will perform random acts of kindness because it is the right thing to do. But, how do we know that something is the right thing to do? Is it all part of the Karma idea of what goes around comes around? Do we perform random acts of kindness because we have the ability to help someone when they need assistance?
There is a website devoted to random acts of kindness.
They promote the idea without the obvious buy this/join this etc stuff.
Here is what the Random Acts of Kindness.org says
Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some key points:
• Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
• A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
• Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc. A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
• Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.
• A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain can occur.
• The incidence of attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body is reduced.
• The health benefits and sense of well-being return for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.
• An increased sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism, as well as a decrease in feelings of helplessness and depression, is achieved.
• Once we establish an “affiliative connection” with someone – a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding – we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.
• Adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of mental health.
• The practice of caring for strangers translates to immense immune and healing benefits.
• Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income.
Source: Luks, Allan. The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others. New York: iUniverse.com, 2001. Our thanks to the Niagara Wellness Council, Niagara Fall, NY, for compiling this list from Luks’ book. The Niagara Wellness Council may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will the idea of random acts of kindness work for you and me?
Here is a challenge. Let’s all take a week to test it out. Everyday for the next week we will perform at least one random act of kindness.
Here are some ideas ;
- Hold the door for someone.
- Pay for the person behind you in line at the drive thru
- Complement someone on their attire or performance
- Bake cookies for someone
- Send someone a greeting card with via snail mail or e-mail
- Donate money to one of those groups sitting outside of Target or Walmart etc.
- Volunteer your time to a shelter, youth organization or school
- Leave an extra large tip for your food server!
- Do something at the spur of the moment to assist someone in front of you. This could be as easy as throwing away their trash or carrying something for them.
I am hoping that the end result of random acts of kindness would more than anything be to prove that it is contagious.
- “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
- For attractive lips, speak words of kindness- Audrey Hepburn
- “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm… As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
- Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.- Benjamin Franklin
- “A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.” –William John Bennett
- We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.-Winston Churchill
- “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”-Aesop
- “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
- “There’s good in everybody. Boost. Don’t knock.”-Warren G. Harding
- “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”