Kindness is cool—and it’s good for your health

A person carrying a tray of food to their guests with the words "Sharing is Caring" across the image.

Research suggests that doing one small kind thing a day will make you feel better.

And hey, it’s much easier than doing pushups. After all, it takes very little energy to smile at a stranger you encounter on the street or to hold a door open for someone else.

While kindness, obviously, has been around a long time, intentionally spreading kindness became a social trend in the 1980s with the Random Acts of Kindness movement. And the trend continues today with efforts to #payitforward.

The science of kindness

Science is showing us the benefits of kindness, too. Research shows that sharing with others leads to lasting well-being, and that kindness is key to a happy marriage.

Studies show it’s also contagious. Think about it: If anyone ever paid for your coffee in line, you know how great it feels, and you’re probably going to tell people about it all day. And you’re also likely to buy the coffee for the person in line behind you, keeping the kindness going.

Kindness has been deemed so positive health-wise that it’s been labeled the “helper’s high.” Studies link it to lower blood pressure, less pain, reduced stress, less anxiety and more energy.

A man smiles after giving a woman a can of XS energy drink.

Random acts of kindness

Need some new ideas to shake up your kindness game? Here are some to consider:

  • Smile at others—it might make their day!
  • Pick up litter.
  • Hold the door or open the door for someone.
  • Let someone go in front of you in line at the coffee shop or grocery store.
  • Secretly leave candy on someone’s desk.
  • Surprise someone with baked goods.
  • Give a stranger a compliment.
  • Leave an extra big tip.
  • Let that car pull in front of you.
  • Learn the names of people you see every day so you can greet them by name.
  • Write a note to let someone know how much you notice and appreciate their kindness.

Practice empathy

Kindness can be boiled down to paying attention to those around you and responding in a positive way, which isn’t always easy. But it’s good for you and those around you to try to put a little more kindness in every day.

If someone is crabby to you, your first reaction might be to respond with the same attitude. Before you do, pause and consider why they may be crabby.

Is their child sick? Is their car in the shop? Did they just receive bad news? Try to empathize with their situation and maybe you’ll make it better instead of worse.

Be kind to yourself, too

It’s important not to forget yourself when it comes to being kind. Whether that means some quiet alone time for self-care, or getting together with friends, make sure to put yourself on your list.

And remember the saying: People may not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

 

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