Lately I've been thinking about kindness. I've noticed a distinct edginess in the air. It cannot simply be attributed to recent political events or "he who must not be named" in the United States of America. The general tenor of public discourse has taken a turn toward coarse intolerance and impatience with one another that makes life more difficult than it needs to be. Next week February 17-24 is Kindness Week and this is one voluntary day of recognition that I am going to celebrate. I am tired of snapping and being snapped at by others in the course of the day. Imagine what would happen if we made a deliberate choice to respond to snarky comments with kindness! I think we could literally change the world one person at a time.
Why be kind? (Or what's in it for me?)
Kind people are happier. Kindness received makes people happier so hold a door open, smile at a stranger, pay someone a compliment. A recent study found people who deliberately did five random acts of kindness a day for ten weeks were 25% happier than those who did not.
Kind people are healthier and often live longer. The health effects of acting kindly are threefold: it lowers blood pressure significantly, it reduces stress, and improves sleep - all factors that increase longevity.
Kindness is contagious. Not only does treating others with kindness impact your health but it actually helps the one receiving the kindness. This 'pay it foward' effect is a natural extension of the human psyche. In other words, kindness begets kindness. It is a ripple effect.
Kindness doesn't cost a cent. We don't have a reservoir of kindness that can be depleted if used - kindness is a renewable resource! Kindness is simply a choice chosen constantly - it is a way of living rather than a simple gesture.
Kindness makes all the difference. Human beings are more likely to excel in positive environments - its just the way we were wired by Creator!
So in the words of singer Glen Campbell...try a little kindness.