Having just come through the long, grey days of January, I think it is forgivable for us to be more focused on self preservation than engaging in acts of kindness. I have witnessed a lot more short tempers than I have selfless acts in support of others and confess that I may have contributed less than positive vibes sometimes too. Maybe that’s just the reason we all need this month’s #FabFeat “pillar of positivity” – PRACTICING ACTS OF KINDNESS.
The wonderful part about practicing acts of kindness is that not only does it improve the lives of those you help, it has also been found to benefit you as the giver of kindness. This isn’t surprising; everyone can think of a time when they experienced that warm glow after assisting another – friend or stranger. Recently, research into acts of kindness have provided more information about how best to maximize the positive outcomes. For instance, when the acts are performed together, they provide the giver with greater joy. When the kinds of activities are varied, the benefits are again multiplied as we become less acclimated to doing the same thing all the time.
Performing acts of kindness also has a positive impact on our perception of ourselves as compassionate people resulting in feeling more useful, confident, and optimistic. In turn, others are inspired by your example making practicing acts of kindness a contagious activity; you can help others reap the benefits of kindness in a “pay it forward” kind of upward spiral.
I have always been the kind of person who wants to support others. I am an avid volunteer and intuitively know when someone needs a little TLC. My 50 Feats adventures allowed me to find new ways to practice this pillar, from building a playground to planting trees to working with kindergarten kids learning about science. Each activity provided me with yet another benefit of practicing acts of kindness: social connection. I fondly remember the conversation I had with the Motts employee from Georgia who had immigrated to the States and was thrilled to be able to give back by building the playground as part of their corporate initiative. I smile as I think about the expressions of awe on the faces of those little scientists as I played marine biologist Sue holding up the octopus and learning as much from them as they did from me. Interestingly, these acts cost me exactly zero dollars; my time and interest were the only assets I needed to bring to the table.
Practicing acts of kindness can be easily included in your daily activities. Below are few ideas that might “jump start” your practice:
Random Acts of Kindness: Think about how you might engage in a few small (or large) acts every week. Track them in a journal to remind yourself of these activities and reflect on how it felt to help someone else.
Spending Money on Others: This activity doesn’t involve a lot of money. Research has found that spending as little as five dollars on others can increase your (and their) happiness levels. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive through, leave a five dollar bill in your favourite book at the bookstore for the person who buys it, smile and say hello to a stranger. It’s just that simple.
Random Acts of Kindness week runs from February 12 – 17, 2017. Visit https://randomactsof.us/ for more information and join me in sharing your own ACTS OF KINDNESS through the following:
Post a picture, video, or note on the Facebook page: Fabulous Feats.
Tweet out your experience with using: #FabFeats
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia