Two years ago, I participated in a challenge so I’m revisiting Christmas random acts of kindness in the hopes you will do the same. This is the time of year that we need to be thinking of more than presents and parties. If I know anything, it’s that paying it forward leads to good things, for both the receiver and the giver.
I found study after study, along with many personal stories, of the impact that paying it forward has on both our brain and our body:
- oxytocin is released which makes us feel better and more connected to to others; it leads to less anxiety and depression, and it increases self-satisfaction and confidence
- it leads to less health problems, such as colds, as it strengthens our immune system; it also leads to less body aches, and having more energy for the tasks we need to complete
- as less cortisol is released, the executive functions in the brain work more efficiently, leading to better thinking and decision making, to name a few; overall, performance improves
- relationships are strengthened by bonding more with others; it also leads to having more empathy, which seems to be sorely lacking these days
The benefits of practicing random acts of kindness don’t just apply to adults – it leads to happier children, as well. Here are some ways s you can show kindness; use them in your work, your family, and or yourself (we also need to be most kind to ourselves):
- give compliments
- send a card to a soldier or to someone in a nursing home
- donate to charities, such as through money, clothes, books, food, or house goods – there are man people who are in need
- take supplies to an animal shelter – blankets are needed, especially in the cold, but they can use food, shampoo, etc.
- pay for the person in back of you in the drive-through; bring in bagels or other goodies to coworkers;
- hold the door open for someone at the store or let someone out in traffic (or to merge)
- help a coworker out
- smile at everyone you see -it could make someone’s day
From my own experience, giving random acts of kindness works like gratitude – it takes the focus of of you and onto others, which spreads good karma. I’m on day 850 of gratitude (from another challenge I did) and have found I’m able to deal with stress and any adversities easier and am happier, overall. Now, I just need to work on being kind to when driving (lol).
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