My daughter recently offered cash to pay for her coffee at a drive thru window only to be greeted with the happy news that she owed no money because the local radio station was unfolding random acts of kindness.
They captured her “THAT’s SO NICE!!” on the radio and wished her well.
For the rest of the day nothing was routine for Kate. She found more joy in her work, the mundane seemed magnificent and she couldn’t wait to pay kindness forward so someone else could have the lift she experienced.
Kate’s reactions are backed by research that confirms that kindness makes people happier and that it is contagious. In a HuffPost Healthy Living blog, Dr. David R. Hamilton explores those two benefits and three others:
1) Kindness gives us healthier hearts.
2) Kindness slows aging.
3) Kindness makes for better relationships.
His findings are remarkable.
My own soft research yielded similar, softer conclusions. When I’m kind to others, I feel better (healthy heart). When I feel better, I’m happier (feel younger). When I’m happier, others want to be around me and I want to be around them (better relationships).
Probably more often than “Clean your room,” my girls heard, “Do something kind for someone” as they were growing up.
Doing something kind reminded them that with even the smallest gestures, they could boost someone’s day. In short, by being kind they were reminded that they matter, others matter and connecting to others in meaningful ways is as important as eating well, exercising and working hard each day.
Kindness doesn’t have to cost money or even take much time. Place sticky notes on co-workers’ computers with and inspiring quote; sharpen someone’s pencils before they arrive at their desk.
Bake goodies for a neighbor, call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, write a letter and mail it to someone you admire or want to know better.
Write a message in bar soap on bathroom mirrors. Share a favorite song or poem.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation shares ideas, stories linked to kindness and research about kindness benefits. Simply checking out the website www.randomactsofkindness.org will make your heart swell.
There could be no better resolution than ‘Be kind, (or more kind).”
As you ring in the New Year, resolve to be happier, bolster your heart, have better relationships, inspire others and feel younger. Know that these five results will unfold after a daily dose of one practice: the practice of being kind.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Hanover Magazine as much as we did creating it.
Lisa Moody Breslin