How a random act of kindness might just change your life (and someone else’s)!
Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness from a total stranger? Chances are, if you have, you remember it distinctly.
The theory goes that if we all did kind and thoughtful things, we might live in a more communal and harmonious way as a species. And, by performing just one thoughtful act, we might inspire all sorts of compassionate acts of kindness as a result. We might alter the rest of someone’s life. You never know what the ripple effect might be! With Random Acts of Kindness Day now a phenomenon across the globe, there’s no better time to start a habit of generosity.
The Power of Random Acts of Kindness
While generosity is at the heart of the message, there are actually benefits for you too when you help others. It’s connected to the concept of gratitude – by showing gratitude for your fellow person, you have the opportunity to pause and accept your own blessings.
Gratitude has several scientifically proven benefits, including:
- Attracting new, positive people into your life. Gratitude improves self-esteem, as well as your attitudes towards others, reducing the habit of comparing yourself to others. After all, like attracts like, and by displaying a positive attitude towards others, you set the scene for more positive connections in your own life.
- Physical health improves. Grateful people, according to a 2012 study found that grateful people are more likely to take care of their health, exercise more, and attend their regular check-ups.
- Psychological health improves. The energy you put out into the world does affect how you process the things that happen to you in return – looking on the bright side and feeling generous towards others can help you to assume positive intent in others, reducing jealousy, negativity, frustration and other difficult emotions. You become more mentally resilient, as stress is reduced, and we’re more able to look on the bright side when things go wrong.
- You become more empathic. In a 2012 study from the University of Kentucky, it was found that grateful people were more likely to be prosocial, even if others were less kind to them. This means that they were less likely to retaliate, hold a grudge or seek revenge, and experienced more sensitivity and empathy towards others.
In all, random acts of kindness help you see the bright side and really tap into what we all share as humans – our common experiences, our common needs, and our common desires for our lives.
What You Can Do?
Remind Someone That You Love Them
Whether it’s a family member or a friend you’ve lost touch with, or someone you see every day, there’s nothing wrong with reminding those you care about that you still feel strongly about them. Spreading the love in clear acts of kindness or even simply in words can really make the difference in your relationships.
Offer a Free Meal
There’s nothing simpler and more necessary than a good meal. We all know how effective it can be to bond over food and offering to pay for lunch or a coffee – or even bringing a lunch to someone who is homeless, or in need – will make all the difference in the world to that person. For an extra social experience, offer to share the meal and chat.
Take the Time to Really Connect
Pausing your next scroll through social media to really connect with someone can be a great way to show kindness to a stranger. Strike up a conversation with someone you come across in your day, especially if they seem lost or sad. Start with a smile. If you’re struggling with a polite opening exchange, use your context to pick a subject that you can both relate to. For example, if you’re on public transport, use that, and try to keep it positive. So instead of complaining about the bus, maybe comment on the nice things passing by outside the window. Your ability to listen is also a gift. Most people are thinking about what to say next, or are always busy on their phones, in their own worlds. If you’re having a conversation, listen with all of your attention.
Pass on Some Wisdom
It might be as simple as buying someone a book, or it might mean offering to teach someone something valuable that you know about already. We have all benefitted from and learned things from the past knowledge of others. Don’t be afraid to pass down your own view of something – sharing that knowledge means that someone will experience it the way only you can explain it.
Don’t Let it End on the Day
Random acts of kindness can be made at any time of year – not just on its allocated day of celebration! There will be days when you’re kinder than others to the people around you. But by trying to incorporate random acts of kindness and helping others as regularly as you can, you’ll find yourself being kind without even thinking about it. It’s a great habit to start, and you can start any time!
Have a wonderful week.