Have you noticed how great you feel after you’ve done something nice for someone else? Well, it turns out there’s a perfectly good explanation for it.
In his book, Why Kindness is Good For You, Dr. David Hamilton reveals how kindness has been scientifically proven to change the brain and impact the heart and immune system.
He also says kindness might even be an antidote to depression. Something I wish I’d known back when I was spending R300 a month on my natural anti-depression meds.
We’re genetically wired to be kind. According to Dr. Hamilton, kindness has evolved in us and as a result, its effects are felt daily throughout our nervous systems.
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” —Albert Schweitzer
Kindness Makes for a Healthy Body
In addition, gratitude, which is often a serendipitous byproduct of kindness, can make you at least 25% happier. If you perform a random act of kindness for someone less fortunate, you’ll automatically feel more grateful for your own life.
You don’t need an accomplice to enjoy the benefits. Express gratitude through journaling and you’ll reap the same results. But since journaling is a habit I have yet to acquire, being kind to strangers suits me perfectly.
The effects of kindness don’t just stop with the doer or the doee (that’s not a word, but you know what I mean) however. If I happen to notice you doing a good deed for someone else, I’ll feel the positive effects of that interaction as well.
I’m not suggesting this as a loophole mind you (that would just be lame). I’m simply sharing with you the far-reaching effects that performing random acts of kindness (big or small) can have on the world.
So the next time you think you can’t possibly make a difference in the world, think again. Your good turn has the power to spread exponentially.
Cape Town has its share of homeless people, so Sporty and I have ample opportunity on a daily basis to do good. Unfortunately we don’t always take advantage of this. Too often we’re in a hurry or worse, not in the mood.
You know what the problem with that is? Just like you feel good when you do good, you feel horrible when you pass up on the opportunity to help someone when you can.
Never Stop Asking This Question
Our fave optimal living guru, Brian Johnson, shared a short YouTube clip explaining how to find your mission in your life in less than 5 seconds. In it he advocates asking the question: What would the highest version of me do in this moment?
That’s a pretty good yardstick don’t you think? The caveat comes in actually remembering to ask the question. Although, I guess with practice it will eventually become a habit.
Certain times of the year are specifically geared towards performing random acts of kindness (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mandela Day, World Kindness Day, RAK Friday, etc.), but I think we should commit to making this an evergreen activity.
Making a Difference, One Meal at a Time
Fortunately for Sporty and I, we recently found out about Ladles of Love, a volunteer-run soup kitchen and feeding program for Cape Town’s homeless. Now we have a minimum of four opportunities a week to make a difference.
Considering how little is required of us: we pitch up, dish up, hand out and clean up in an hour, the positive impact on the people we’re helping as well as on ourselves is not insignificant.
Now more than ever, we need to turn our attention away from the media and focus on the good we can do.
We always take a post ‘soupie’ selfie. Can you spot us? 🙂 (Blossie, if you’re reading this, sorry about the pic!)
Some Kindness Inspiration
Have you seen The Kindness Diaries on Netflix? The series follows Leon Logothetis as he travels around the world on his yellow motorbike spreading a message of kindness and compassion. His book Amazing Adventures of a Nobody chronicles the life changing journey across America that started it all. It’s a fascinating and humbling read.
So what do you say, are you keen to join us on this mission to make kindness a regular thing? Let us know if you are, we’d love to hear what you’re up to! Also, if you’re at a loss for ideas be sure to visit Random Acts of Kindness for some additional inspiration.