Imagine, if you can, a world that is just a bit kinder.
The world feels brutally unkind to me right now.
Everyone is crying out for tolerance, fairness, justice and for personal “rights”.
It seems to me, though, instead of finding real solutions to reconcile wrongs and make the world a better place, we have ignited a mud-slinging, hate-throwing, vicious war against each other on every level. The real issues are being lost in the fighting.
And, honestly, everyone loses.
So, what if instead, we individually chose to be kind to one another…to everyone within our realm of influence? What might that outcome be? What good could kindness actually do?
There is evidence that individuals who are kind to others are healthier and happier. But, it doesn’t end there, because kindness is contagious. I want to offer that it can also be a world-changer.
Let’s take a look at a bit of research on kindness…
A study from the Hebrew University in Israel in 2005 discovered a link between kindness and a gene that releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.
Isn’t that curious? When you are kind your brain responds and makes you feel good.
In the book The Healing Power of Doing Good, researcher Alan Luks discovered something he calls “helpers high”. Helpers reported a noticeable physical sensation when being kind. Many reported feeling more energetic, warm, calmer and greater self-worth.
Professor Stephen Post, author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, has also examined the evidence that being kind is good for your health.
He states that “A strong correlation exists between the wellbeing, happiness and health of people who are kind. It’s difficult to be angry, resentful, or fearful when one is showing unselfish love towards another person.”
And this…” In a study conducted by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at University of California, Riverside, students were assigned to do five random acts of kindness per week for a period of six weeks. At the end of the study, the students’ levels of happiness had increased by 41.66 percent. Being kind had a profoundly positive effect on happiness.”
Maybe there was no need to go so far to remind you how good it feels to be kind, because you have personally experienced it. I must confess, though, that it is extremely easy to forget compassion when we are dodging hand grenades and chucking a few of our own.
So, I offer you a few more words about altruism here from those who are perhaps much wiser than I.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” -Albert Schweitzer
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” -George Sand
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” -William Arthur Ward
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” -Barbara de Angelis
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” -Scott Adams
“One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all — to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.” -Ezra Taft Benson
“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” -Nathaniel Branden
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“Because that’s what kindness is. It’s not doing something for someone else because they can’t, but because you can.” -Andrew Iskander
“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.” -Publilius Syrus
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.” -James M. Barrie
“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” -Theodore Isaac Rubin
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” -Henry James
Just for a moment, I ask that we reflect on the opposite point here. If, as we learn from research and our own personal experience, we are happiest and healthiest when we are kind, then what does being unkind do to us?
And back to the mud-slinging…What in the world are we doing to each other right now in our world, our nation, in our relationships whether those are face to face or on social media?
One more thing here…
KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS!
Interestingly enough, the positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of not only everyone who demonstrates kindness, but also in those who witness the act. The observer’s mood is also improved and it makes them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” One kindhearted act in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!