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Posts Tagged ‘Kindness challenge’

Monday I shared that to celebrate my 40th birthday my friends and I joined forces to fill our local communities with random acts of kindness.  We spread our kindness amongst 20 states and 5 countries and we all learned many lessons along the way.

Small Acts Big Changes

One part I enjoyed about this project was the variety of acts that were done. Some acts influenced many people such as a donation to a food bank. Other acts were smaller yet still inspiring.  A simple act can have a large impact on a person when done at the right time with the right intentions. One act of small kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. Any act of kindness can be contagious and inspire others to pass on another kind act. It is hard to measure the impact of one simple act, so never think an act is too simple or small to spend time on.

One of the kindest acts someone ever did for me was to show up at my house with a plate of cookies as I was going through a tough time. She set those cookies on my counter, sat on the floor and played with my eight-month-old baby. She might not remember that day, but I will never forget it.  A plate of cookies and a half-hour of time, something I remember more than ten years later.

Missed Opportunities

 Often I find myself second-guessing a kind idea or intention I have. I will overthink something so long that an opportunity passes me by and I promptly switch to beating myself up for missing an opportunity. I was so inspired by my friends and what they were accomplishing that acting on a kind deed became easier for me to do. It became more second nature and I was more confident offering to help someone or pass on a compliment.

More Gratitude

Kindness promotes gratitude. Being kind to others encourages one to consider what is positive in their own life. As we went through forty days I noticed this happening in our group. We started posting about how others were being kind to us and the deeds that made our days a little better. Some of these acts happen so frequently or regularly we forget to show gratitude for them. For example, I noticed the bus drivers who get my children to school safely every day, the mailwoman who reliably delivers my mail, the people at the gym whose positivity make working out fun, and drivers on the road who let me over or wave me on at a stop sign.

According to Psychology Today, Kindness means a behavioral response of compassion and actions that are selfless; or a mindset that places compassion for others before one’s interests. In performing the selfless act, a person may undercut their selfish interests. This process can lead to more gratitude.

 Did we change the world? No. This reminds me of the song lyric; I can’t change the world but I can change yours. I don’t know if we permanently changed anyone’s world. I like to think we lightened a few loads, and added some extra smiles to our communities and that is enough. It is enough because it changed us.

When you can, hold the door, let someone over on the freeway, smile at a stranger. Do what you can where you can to make your corner of the world a little kinder- it is enough!

Sources:

I Can’t Change the World, but I Can Change Yours. (2019, November 4). Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/11/04/i-cant-change-the-world-but-i-can-change-yours/.

Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

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I turned forty this year. That is a big milestone to celebrate and yet I did nothing except manage to stay alive 14,600 days in a row. Nevertheless, the fact that forty came for me and I am somewhat excited means that this milestone deserves a celebration. I grew up with a dad in the Air Force, and we moved every four years or less. My spouse is an Air Force civilian and we’ve spent his career calling different places in the US and around the world home. This means that my friends are scattered all over the world. Gathering them together for a celebration would have been impossible.

 Last year I took on the “Kindness Boomerang” book as my resolution. It may be the only resolution I have kept my entire life. The book supplies an idea for a kind act and a quote for every day of the year. Even if I was unable to complete the suggested act, I still found inspiration in the daily quotes such as:

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions.” Amelia Earhart

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can so something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

I combined social media and the book and found a way to celebrate with my friends all over for forty days! I asked all my Facebook friends to sign up for a day to share a small act of kindness for 40 days leading up to my birthday. The response was overwhelming. Many friends responded, and for those 40 days shared their kind act on our Facebook group. We covered some distance. We had participants in all corners of Ohio, 19 other states and covering the globe in Germany, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Spain. We had a lot of fun, strengthened connections and learned a few things along the way.

Health benefits from being kind?

Do you want more energy or to feel happier? Raise your hand if you want to live longer! Are you looking to decrease feelings of depression or anxiety? Be kind!!

Research proves kindness is good for health. About half of the participants in a research study reported that they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.

People who practice kindness regularly have 23% less cortisol, (the stress hormone) than the average population. A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that generous people are happiest overall. There are many other health benefits of being kind; lower blood pressure, reduced pain and increased positivity.

Next post we cover lessons learned about opportunities for kindness, the impact of small acts and my final thoughts on the project.

Sources:

Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

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While on a recent family vacation in another state, my sister ended up in the Emergency Department at a hospital. She had multiple fractures in her foot and ended up in a cast up to her knee. This injury was the result of her long term Type 1 Diabetes. She recently had a heart stent put in and had been walking about a mile a day – for her heart health. Little did she know that she had multiple fractures in her foot. Now it made sense that her foot swelled so much each evening.

This experience showed us the kindness of strangers that I want to share. We experienced several random acts of kindness during this time. Research shows that random acts of kindness and generosity increase happiness in the giver. The medical staff fit her with crutches and instructed her to keep weight off her foot. This sounds like an easy task but it can be challenging to maneuver crutches. She was able to get around but still struggled with the crutches.

Kindness

The next day she wanted to sit at the pool by the beach to watch family members parasail. If you are mobile, this is easy, just walk in and sit by the pool. It isn’t so easy if you are on crutches. But…. we experienced another act of kindness – a little boy (approximately 10 years old) stood there holding the gate until my sister could get in. A puddle of dirty pool water was inside the gate; his sister saw it, took her towel, and dried the cement so that Debbie didn’t get her cast wet. I looked at the mother and said she doesn’t have to do that with her towel – their mother said, “that’s ok” and let her do it. I was so touched that they knew the importance of being kind to a stranger. Someone in their family taught them to think of others.

Another instance we experienced included having a Physical Therapist Assistant ask if we needed help with the crutches as my sister made her way to the restroom on our drive home. She said the crutches are not the right height for her and asked if we wanted her to adjust them so that they fit. We said, “of course, we need all the help we can get” and she sat down on a bench, took the crutches and adjusted them on the spot. This made it so much easier to maneuver. We told the PT Assistant thanks for asking and she said sometimes she isn’t sure if she should interfere – we told her, yes! Her act of kindness helped us and we were grateful.

Another act of kindness included people holding the doors open as we struggled to move around with the crutches. This happened many times over our last few days of vacation.

Why is it important to share these experiences? As parents or grandparents, you can foster kindness in children. This short YouTube video featuring Dr. Christine Carter, “Raising Kind Kids” from Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley shares a few key suggestions to encourage kids to be kind.

Are you ready to experience happiness by giving to others? Take this “Random Acts of Kindness” Challenge by doing 5 random acts in one day. Record how you feel and comment on their page. Another fun option is to pass out these Smile Cards. Complete an act of kindness, leave the Smile Card and keep the spirit going!

What are you waiting for? Try kindness today!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Sources:

Breines, J., Three Strategies for Bringing More Kindness into Your Life, retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_strategies_for_bringing_more_kindness_into_your_life

Carter, C., Raising Kind Kids, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley, YouTube retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/raising_kind_kids

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, Greater Good in Action, University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Center, retrieved from: UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.  http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/random_acts_of_kindness

Smile Cards, KindSpring.org retrieved from: http://www.kindspring.org/smilecards/

 

 

 

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