Happy World Kindness Day, y’all! There are so many cheesy quotes about kindness, one could spend the entire afternoon searching through Google results in order to find the perfect phrase with which to start a blog post. But surely, no one would spend hours of their life doing that.
So, here’s a hand picked, inspiring quote for you to enjoy:
When someone who writes fables as a full-time job tells us kindness is important, we should listen up. It’s easy to have a superficial and two-dimensional view of what this word means. “Kindness” has been overused in greeting cards, children’s books, songs, and Pinterest vision boards for many years. But when you really get down to it, we are selling this word short.
Kindness does NOT mean a flat, forced version of being nice. It does NOT mean sacrificing our nuances, complexities, and authenticity. It’s more than just holding the door for someone or not cutting someone off in traffic. Kindness is actively choosing to be generous with our time, knowledge, finances, patience, and headspace in spite of the thousand stressors, worries, and unknowns that face us each day.
To celebrate World Kindness Day today, here are a few reasons to prioritize being kind in the world today:
1. Being kind is good for your brain.
Recently, scientists and researchers have become pretty obsessed with looking at how kindness impacts our brains. Which is excellent news for us regular people, because they’ve discovered that caring about the well-being of others is actually something our brains were designed to do.
Even Darwin, with all his ideas on survival of the fittest, understood that human beings and animals were designed to take care of each other. He found that acts of kindness are more closely related to the betterment of society than “any other instinct or motive,” because we perform them too quickly to decide whether they will benefit or harm us. They are a natural motive.
We can see the impact of kindness on our brains in our day-to-day lives. Research has shown when we meditate with the focus of building compassion towards others, our brain activity shifts to a region associated with happiness. Being kind actively reinforces neural pathways that boost our mood, which can impact our daily lives greatly.
Clearly, our brains enjoy kindness.
2. Practicing kindness makes you happier.
After you’ve done something nice for someone, you may have noticed a boost in your emotions related to happiness and satisfaction. The University of British Columbia investigated this phenomenon and found it to be so prevalent that they called it a “positive feedback loop.”
Doing one kind act makes you happy, and that extra happiness makes you more likely to do something else nice, which makes you even happier, and so on.
Another study, from Dr. Martin Seligman and the University of Pennsylvania, found that writing a thank you note to someone for their kindness led to an immediate boost in happiness that continued even weeks after the act of writing the gratitude letter. So get out that pen and paper, or just hit “compose” in your inbox, and start writing!
3. Being kind makes you live longer.
People who prioritize kindness throughout their lives see benefits beyond just their day-to-day feeling of satisfaction; they actually live longer. Selflessness and an understanding of our relative unimportant place in the world has been shown to lead to longer life-spans. People who sacrifice their time to care for a family member without pay, for example, have a decreased mortality rate. Additionally, serving others and feeling needed in the community gives seniors a higher chance of living longer than their peers who don’t feel needed.
We know being kind is better for our social well-being, physical health, and longevity. Focusing on serving others through meditation has been shown to boost immune functions. By focusing on gratitude, kindness, and serving others, we are actually making ourselves healthier.
4. Kindness is contagious.
Maybe you’re still not convinced about why you should prioritize kindness, and the above three reasons related to your own personal gains did nothing to motivate you. This item might be the missing piece you’re looking for: Kindness is contagious and quickly spreads throughout communities, workplaces, and schools. When we see someone engaged in an act of goodwill, we are elevated to consider this type of act possible for ourselves. While this might not be groundbreaking science, it’s probably not something most of us think about on a day-to-day basis.
By being kind to others, you’re actually making the whole community better.
5. True kindness starts with being kind to ourselves.
There’s no way you are going to live your best life, and no way the world will be able to see your true kindness if you can’t first be kind to yourself. Practice cultivating the type of self-love, self-care, and self-kindness that you would show your friends and family. This is possibly the greatest thing you can do for yourself and those close to you.
By paying attention to the voice in your head, you’re making sure your kindness is coming from a place that’s genuine and sustainable. If your internal monologue is saying something mean, something you would never dream of saying to someone else, notice it and try to interrupt it with a positive thought. Make a list of the things you love about yourself, or have others write down things they love about you, so you can have something to come back to when this happens.
There’s a lot happening in our world out there. We will all benefit from more kindness, love, and compassion. So, spread kindness today – Get Involved!
This blog was contributed by Nikki Powers:
Nikki is originally from Wisconsin, making her a die hard Green Bay Packers fan and, of course, a lover of cheese. Since moving out to Colorado to pursue her career in international education, she has come to enjoy living life “out west,” whether that means camping or snowboarding in the mountains. However, her true passion lies in adventuring abroad.