Random Acts Of Kindness - 1st September

30th August 2018

Selina Allen

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When I was a kid, so just a few years ago now, the only days of the year that were observed were the usuals...Christmas, New Years, Easter, Waitangi Day, Birthdays etc. How times have changed though because these days?...there is literally a day for something, every day of the year. 

In August alone we've had an International Homeless Animals Day, a Kiss And Make Up Day, and even a Fresh Breath Day which lets face it, should be a daily observance anyway :-) ...some of them are simply for fun, such as the Talk Like Shakespeare Day (why wouldn'test thou?) and others actually do some good in the world such as Random Acts Of Kindness Day

Random Acts Of Kindness Day was first created in Denver, Colorado in 1995, and nine years later it spread to New Zealand in 2004. There is now a RAK website dedicated to this day as well as social media pages where you can spread the kindness even more. 

The idea behind this holiday is to make the world a better place by spreading a little light around. Lift someone up with your words, compliment them on their appearance, all these things can help to really turn around someone who’s having a bad day.

The wonderful thing about RAK Day is that is not only benefits the receiver of kindness but also the giver. Research has shown that the very act of doing something for someone else gives us a chemical high, a higher one, in fact, than if something had been done for us. As Ghandi famously and wisely said -  "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

            Kindness - The Scientific Facts

person sitting near water with face in handsLike most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!

Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!

Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.

Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

What Can YOU Do? 

Being kind and giving to others is not about the dollar value at all. In fact, social psychologist Liz Dunn conducted an experiment which proves this point. She gave colleagues and students an envelope containing money with instructions they should either spend it on themselves or spend it on someone else. Those who gave the money to others were happier than those who kept it for themselves. In some cases, there were 5 dollars in the envelope and in other cases there were 20 dollars. The amount didn't matter -- the results were the same. Spending on others made people happier than spending on oneself. 

There are also loads of ways that you can give without even spending a cent. Here's a few options for free or inexpensive ways you can show kindness- 

  • Give someone a compliment.
  • Buy an extra coffee and give it to a stranger.
  • Leave an encouraging message on a work colleagues desk/partners pillow.
  • Home baking always goes down well. Send some to the kids school or take some to work for a morning tea treat. 
  • Let someone go in front of you while waiting in line.
  • Spend some time with a relative or friend that you wouldn't normally see much of.
  • Volunteer some of your time for a worthy cause.
  • Ask a Senior Citizen about their past. 
  • Do a practical job or chore for a neighbour (mow lawns/gardening etc.) or help with their Spring Cleaning.
  • Give the gift of security and peace of mind to a friend or family member with their own LifeLot account. (Choices are always good, right!)

For a comprehensive list of things you could do check out 101 Of the Best Random Acts Of Kindness Ideas

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” - Mark Twain

Related: Give A LifeLot Gift Certificate | Wellbeing | 20 Ways To Revive Positive Energy


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