Ever noticed how good it feels when someone does something nice for you? Ever noticed how it feels to do something nice for someone else? The simple act of promoting kindness no matter how small can have a huge impact. “The Butterfly Effect” comes from the Chaos Theory – whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. Small ramdon acts of kindness work in the same way and they can be contagious! Giving a small act of kindness it about giving something of ourselves as human beings. It makes both the giver and the recipient feel good or valued. These small acts of kindness actually have a positive effect on our overall well being and the well being of others.
A sense of self
As human beings we are social creatures by nature. Early humans knew the importance of being part of a social group. It provided protection (safety in numbers), the hunting and gathering of food, the sharing of knowledge and skills, all of which helped to increase the chances of suvival. Research shows that being part of a functioning group or community also helps to provide a sense of self, validation and cohesion through the sharing of ideas, skills and tasks.
Many people living in the World today are faced with a variety of social and economic pressures. These can constrain the individual and distort the sense of self. The added pressure and overload of social media delivering tradegy and balanaty can result in leaving us feeling isolated, fearful and inadequate.
Kindness is good for your body and soul
When we commit an act of kindness we trigger the release of Oxcytocin (our love hormone) into our bodies. Oxcytocin has cardioprotective qualities. It releases a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels and therefore helps to lower blood pressure and protect the heart. Oxcytocin is also released when we see others commit act of kindness. In this case Oxcytocin increases our optimism and self esteem which is why when we see an act of kindness we are more likey to carry one out ourselves.
Research carried out by University of Britsh Columbia highlighted a positive impact on anxiety and stress. A group of highly anxious participants committed to make at least 6 acts of kindness a week. Their results showed a general increase in mood and relationship satisfaction and a lowering of anxiety after a month of taking part. In another experiment by Christine Carter at UC Berkeley (Greater Good Science Center) participants reported feeling calmer and less depressed and others fedback they felt more energetic and stronger after they has helped others.
Carrying out small acts of kindness particulary towards others who are struggling in some way increases our feeling of grattitude of what we do have and develops our empathy for others. It can also help us to try new things which aids self confidence and self esteem increasing overall life satisfaction.
Love Yourself Too
Being kind to others is one thing but what about being kind to ourselves? For many people giving “self kindness” is hard when we are focusing on so many pressures and looking after others. It is however important for our personal physical and emotional well being. In a study by Bluth et al 2016 called “Making Friends with yourself” in which participants were asked to carry out small acts of kindness for themselves showed that those involved reported experiencing less stress and anxiety and increased their ability to have more self-compassion alongwith improved mood.
Be a butterfly and spread kindness
Its official, being kind is good for you. Whether its being kind to yourself or carrying out a small act towards someone else start spreading those beautiful wings we all have and create some kindness. It will travel a long way!
Ideas for kindness acts
* buy the person behind you in the queue a coffee at the coffee shop
* have a clear out and donate to a charity shop
* switch off your phone and have a relaxing bath or read a book
* smile at the next 3 strangers you meet
* spend 5 minutes talking to your neighbour
* give a friend a hug or why not hug yourself 🙂
* give someone a compliment
* thank someone for what they have done for you
* compliment yourself on an achievement
* buy a homeless person a coffee or a sandwich
* let someone pull out in front of you in a traffic jam
* pick up some litter and put it in a bin – kindness towards our environment
You can find more ideas on random acts of kindness at the web link below
Have a beautiful day xxxx