“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”-Aesop
The Kerala and Karnataka floods, the rains in Chennai that created havoc a couple of years back, the Indonesian tsunami in 2018 or the California wildfire are clear evidences that humanity still exists among humans and kindness, an act that is portrayed to be ‘uncool’ these days, is well in practice anywhere in the world. Being kind is not an act but an art that needs to be practised by each and every human born unto this world. The world has survived and will survive due to the presence of such kind and lovely people who do good to others without any expectations or rewards in return. Mankind always has this nature of doing caring and thoughtful deeds only after someone does the same to us and this theory is even backed by science. For instance, we reciprocate when someone smiles at us, greet with a Hello when someone has greeted us the previous morning and so on. Maybe it’s time now to start taking kindness reigns in our hands and start spreading the joy of love and goodness to others.
Life doesn’t give satisfaction to most people as they expect more and more once they start experiencing the good things in life-higher pay checks, higher position, more power and a finer lifestyle and our goals doesn’t end here. Happiness is never ever a result of these materialistic and temporary things in life. Skip the personal selfishness and take pain to spread some dose of kindness to the people around you. Ultimately, we do need money for survival but that should not be the only motive for survival. Doing a single act of kindness can bring upon immense pleasure unto you. One needs to experience it to relish the feel of it. For instance, it might be dropping a passer-by at the nearest bus stop on your way to office, buying something even when you don’t need it from a small child who sells stuff for his/her daily hunger or even complementing someone daily that brightens up their day and makes them feel happy through the entire day. But we are living in an era where each of us don’t have time to even know our neighbours as all of us are busy looking down at our phones and texting people we don’t even know for real. These days, acts of kindness are sometimes even seen with suspicion. The helping lady in the bus who offers a seat for the sick, the old man in the train who offers a biscuit to a young kid or the understanding friend who helps with homework is not regarded as being kind and helpful but are suspected of having ultimate motives behind their act!
Putting Up with Social Media Frenzy
Everything has to be on social media these days. Helping flood victims, raising funds for tsunami victims or sheltering stray animals-each of them are broadcasted on social media sites with fancy hashtags and peppy photos. Today, kindness is not only fashionable and appearing in news feeds or being shared in WhatsApp memorable but these are also profitable! Hashtags are a way to express the everyday acts of kindness witnessed in the society and to remind people that the world is still a good place for survival. People have started looking forward to more news columns, episodes on television and snippets on media that talk about good news. We have had enough on poverty, rape and death. While these are also definite news that ought to see the limelight, individuals are in search of positive news and the response to such coverages are overwhelming. But again, kindness cannot be measured-we have no apps to measure its number or data mining programs that can search whether the number of kinder people has increased or decreased.
A Proven Antidote to Mental Health
Though people preach that kindness must be practised without expecting anything in return, scientifically it has been proved to improve our very own physical and mental health. Researchers working on various studies related to kindness concluded that humans are social animals who derive pleasure from helping their friends, family, colleagues and even strangers under different circumstances. These studies clearly showed that people derive satisfaction from helping others as kindness is a means to make new friends, kick-start social relationships and escape from social isolation that can otherwise pave way for complicated mental and physical health conditions.
A new study in a reputed journal also shows the promising effects of kindness at workplace. But alas, our workplace is filled with cutthroat competition and nasty behaviour from colleagues who try to ditch each other and reach the pinnacle of success! But according to this study, acts of kindness at workplace creates a positive ripple that affects the whole workplace culture (https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2019/08/26/making-kindness-a-priority-in-the-workplace/#28a7b7fb38f4). Those who received kindness hold better control of their work and report higher levels of happiness and job satisfaction with fewer depressive symptoms. Such acts of kindness at workplace also brought in creativity among employees who went one step ahead and started thinking of out-of-the-box ways to show their generosity and kindness to other employees. Kindness is contagious-once someone starts showing kindness there is no way that you will not show the same to the next person unless your humanness has disappeared into thin air! While we take cues from others to stay powerful, show supremacy and dominate why can’t we be an example of kindness from whom other people learn a thing or two about generosity and good deed?
Practise Kindness by Being Kind to Yourself
It is always easier to be kind to other than to ourselves. But what we don’t realize is how much better we treat others when we have taken care of ourselves. It’s not magical to work from morning to night skipping lunch and dinner but it would be even better if we had been kind to our tummies and had given some rest to our health. Victimizing ourselves can cause collateral damage but diverting all our anger and frustration towards others also cannot be a fulfilling or long-term solution. Start feeling better by being kind to yourself first and there are ample ways to do this. Choose the one that works best for you. While we don’t have control over others, we do have total control over ourselves. It’s our choices and decisions to act kinder and be generous to others. We don’t need an audience to perform kindness nor a serious issue happening with the opponent to be kind to him/her. Offering to bring a cup of coffee at workplace or simply saying ‘Sorry’ when you know that you are wrong are acts of kindness that can bring a smile onto the other person’s face. When we are kind, we are showing others that we care for them and that they mean more to us. This brings upon a feeling of gratitude and such gratitude makes the body release chemicals including endorphins that relieve stress. Practise kindness to realize the happiness of being kind!
The Healing Power of Kindness: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/13/health/iyw-healing-power-kindness-trnd/index.html
Be Kind, Unwind: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/de-stress/be-kind-unwind/articleshow/64509468.cms
Kindness Has Become Very Uncool. But the World Needs Empathy Right Now: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/24/paloma-faith-kindness-has-become-very-uncool-but-the-world-needs-empathy-right-now
The Cult of Being Kind: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/01/the-cult-of-being-kind
Why Being Kind Could Help You Live Longer: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50266957
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