We love a good random act of kindness. There is no shortage of videos on YouTube showing people paying for a stranger’s grocery shopping or meal in a restaurant.
Kind gestures have almost become synonymous with monetary spend when actually it doesn’t need to be.
Author Allan Wolf once said “it doesn't cost anything to be kind. People forget. Kindness doesn't cost a dime” and he’s right.
Investing your time and turning to education can be a great way to give back and show kindness in ways that doesn’t involve breaking the bank if you’re watching your spending.
Robyn Morrison, 31, who works at Energy PR said: ‘My elderly neighbour (she’s 91 in the summer), often gets lonely in the evening, so we have an open door policy for her to come and watch TV with us. She’s no bother at all and enjoys just sitting with us and our dog, just for some company. She comes in wearing her zip up dressing gown and slippers, and as soon as she comes in we pour her a small glass of sherry!’
In a time where technology can overpower face to face communication, it can also serve as a way to bond with other generations too. Using Google Maps to work out someone’s journey if they’re lost, setting up a mobile phone for a family friend or even teaching them how to navigate around social media take very little time but can have a long lasting effect and contribute to stimulating their mind.
Being kind to others also has a positive impact on us, the people carrying out the gesture.
Dr. David R. Hamilton, Ph.D. and author, explained in an article on the Huffington Post what happens to us when we exert kindness towards others.
He said: ‘On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, so we get a natural high, often referred to as “Helper’s High.”’
Both individuals and businesses are making an effort to shower some kindness this week.
Brewery Square, a regeneration project in Dorchester plan to surprise visitors by paying for their shopping, meals or cinema trips, whilst a number of the Hotcourses team host learning lunches to share knowledge in their field to the wider team.
Charlotte Spracklen, centre manager for Brewery Square, commented: “Traditionally we’ve always celebrated Valentine’s in the Square, but this year we wanted to show our appreciation for our wonderful customers, and what better way than on Random Acts of Kindness Day.
“We hope this event will brighten the days of our customers and encourage them to plan their own act of kindness.”
Believe it or not, kindness can also slow the aging process down too according to Dr. Hamilton.
“Remarkable research now shows that oxytocin (which we produce through emotional warmth) reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and thus slows aging at its source. Incidentally these two culprits also play a major role in heart disease, so this is also another reason why kindness is good for the heart.”
This weekend, why not go out of your way and carry out a random act of kindness. If you’re too shy to approach a stranger, why not do something spontaneous for a loved one?
Whether it’s taking some chores off their hands or surprising them with a course or class they’ve always wanted to do, the world could do with more kindness and it all starts with you.
Safeera is Editor of Whatuni and a journalist from Kingston University. Always the inquisitive, her writing spans across a number of areas such as sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and now education. Her belief that you never stop learning and passionate nature has taken her to New York City as part of her degree and across the airwaves on national radio talking about the issues that matter to her.