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Random acts of kindness day: Why being kind is so important to your wellbeing

-Feb 11, Hannah Hargrave, Mind -

It's random acts of kindness day so we have come up with some ideas and why being kind to strangers and those in need is actually good for your health
To celebrate national Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17 Lumity is looking at the ways being kind can not only benefit someone else but deliver a powerful punch of goodness to your wellbeing too. 

A random act of kindness should come from your heart without you expecting anything in return but, without you even wanting it, you actually get a whole lot back. Delivering kindness can have a monumental effect on your mind, body and relationships in some incredibly positive ways.

What is a random act of kindness?

Firstly let’s look at what a random act of kindness is. It is an act performed to help someone else and done so for no reason other than to make that person feel better. It doesn’t matter if it’s planned or spontaneous.

What are some examples of random acts of kindness?

It doesn’t have to be a monumental gesture of kindness to count. As Greek fabulist Aesop said: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” So it could be as simple as taking the effort to make someone laugh, sending a kind text to someone who is struggling, lending someone your umbrella or giving your seat up to someone on the bus. 

We especially like the notes to a stranger that are left in random places for people to find, whether that’s in a bus shelter, or on a letter box – it’s a lovely way to brighten a stranger’s day. It can be as simple as, ‘You’re doing amazingly, don’t forget that.’ You could also pay for a stranger’s coffee, or simply help a older person across the road. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it really is the thought that counts.

What being kind does for your body?

Have you ever done something kind for someone and walked away feeling sad? The likely answer is no. In fact you probably felt a spring in your step, a warmth in your belly and perhaps even a little more relaxed. 

‘365 Give’ founder Jaqueline Way who has launched a global, ‘giving’ phenomenon from her charity explains this perfectly in her inspiring TED Talk ‘How to Be Happy Every Day: It Will Change the World’.

“Researchers from all over the world have been studying the science and psychology of giving,” she says. “They’ve discovered that our brains and our bodies are actually hardwired for giving. When we give, our endorphins kick in, giving us this natural high feeling. They’ve actually called it the ‘helper’s high’. Our oxygen levels rise, this would be our love hormone.”

That alone might spur you on to donate or volunteer, but wait there’s more. 

“For those of you that have been looking for the Fountain of Youth, it’s our body’s natural anti-ageing remedy. And that feeling I got when I volunteer with my dad,” she says of when her father used to take her to hospitals to sing for the patients at Christmas time. “That’s serotonin, our body’s happy transmitter.”

On top of that Jacqueline says being kind can improve our emotional wellbeing.

“Here’s the icing on the cake,” she adds. “Our cortisol levels drop. This is our stress hormone. Giving reduced anxiety and stress and it makes us happy.”

So what are you waiting for? You don’t have to hang around waiting for February 17 to do something for someone else, you can start right now. 

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