Random acts of kindness are the perfect antidote for what ails us

Random acts of kindness

I’m declaring this week to be Random Acts of Kindness Week for all of my readers. Are you up for the challenge?

The kindness movement has already started with the many kind acts being performed through recent fires in the Okanagan area. We’ll all benefit greatly from stoking the flames of kindness in our lives, both the givers and receivers.

I was again uplifted and inspired by a video-clip of singer/songwriter Jann Arden, and students of the Doane USchool performing the song Try a Little Kindness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

There was wisdom in the lyrics of the chorus being changed to reflect the possibility people today may be more broken-hearted than narrow-minded, as was written in Glen Campbell’s original song.

It’s important to consider sadness and fear may be the source of much of the challenging behaviour we’re witnessing in the world today. While it’s easy to judge another who appears rude or abrupt, being gently curious about what lies beneath this veneer often reveals someone who’s stressed, exhausted, afraid or lonely. Reaching through what appears on the surface creates connection that’s so needed in today’s world.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Let’s show up in a way that reflects the world we want to live in. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Random acts of kindness are always in season. There can never be too many.

Don’t mistake random acts of kindness (RAK) as some airy-fairy thing that’s just nice to do. Don’t reserve them only for challenging times. Performing random acts of kindness offers great health benefits that may be the perfect antidote to what’s happening in the world today.

RAK are of interest in the scientific and psychological world today, as researchers delve into the benefits.

While recipients of kind acts benefit in a variety of ways, we don’t have to wait for them to happen to us. The greatest effects of RAK are experienced by those who perform such acts: (https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness)

• Reduced depression and anxiety

• Increased self-worth and happiness

• Increased confidence

• Increased sense of personal connection

• Reduced stress hormones

• Decreased blood pressure and heart rate

• Increased heart health

• Decreased pain

• Increased cognitive function

• Strengthened immune system

• Increased energy

We can rewire our brains and reset our body chemistry for the better, as acts of caring find their way into our brains and bodies and we make the world a better place.

I love hearing about other people’s kind acts and am inspired by them. I’m uplifted and smiling as I write this column because some sweet person performed a RAK in treating the cars behind him to a free lunch at Tim Horton’s.

Our daughter and her family were recipients of his kind act, but so am I in hearing about it.

This uplifting effect isn’t an aberration, as research reveals even witnessing or hearing about acts of kindness benefits others. Others are uplifted and more likely to extend kindness, compounding the effects.

Research shows successful people incorporate kindness into their lives, and this is certainly true for many successful people I know.

As research into the benefits of RAK continues, encouraging such acts is being considered as an intervention to support mental well-being.

Performing RAK can be as simple as:

• sending a kind text to your friends

• mail a handwritten card (they’re rare these days)

• holding a door for another with a smile

• offering a compliment

• buying a coffee for the person behind you in the line-up

Kindness may be the perfect antidote for us all right now.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

An assistant minister at the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, she is a retired nurse with a master’s degree in health science and is a hospice volunteer.  She is also an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan and currently spends her time teaching smartUBC, a unique mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. 

She is a speaker and presenter and from her diverse experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, she has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people gain a new perspective, awaken and recognize we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts, stress or to life. We are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 44 years and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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