According to Wikipedia: Kindness is a behaviour marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.
Kindness is a trait many people consider key to being a good person, but it can be taken for granted. The importance of being kind often becomes clearer when we experience kindness from another person. Being treated with kindness can improve a persons mood. In addition, treating others with kindness may increase happiness and self-esteem in the person doing the action.
BENEFITS OF PRACTICING KINDNESS/ THE POWER AND BENEFITS OF DOING GOOD DEEDS FOR OTHER PEOPLE
Kindness is one of those happiness paradoxes, whereby we become happier by making other people happier.Think back to the last time someone was kind to you. How did it make you feel? Now think about when you were kind to someone else. Remember how you felt in both situations.
The beauty of kindness is that it feels just as good to receive it as it does to practice it. According to a new study, practicing kindness is tied to your overall well-being. In other words, being kind is just as beneficial for you as it is for the other person. Kindness is the gift that keeps on giving.
That is why almost every religion and culture values and rewards the performance of good deeds or kindness. There are many benefits to doing or displaying kindness. I am sure you are already a very generous person. I hope that I can give you even more reasons to do even more good deeds than you currently do. But for now, read on to see what benefits you can expect as you cultivate kindness:
Here are 17 benefits of practicing kindness:
- Increases happiness
- Boosts energy
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces pain
- Promotes longevity
- Help someone
- Help yourself
- Meet someone
- Go to heaven
- Improve Society
- Show values
- Teach by example
- Make the world a better place
- Better relationship
- Better health
- Better performance
HAPPINESS – When it comes to kindness and happiness, there is a positive feedback loop. Researchers found people in general felt happier when they were asked to remember a time they bought something for someone else even happier than when they remembered buying something for themselves. This happiness boost was the same regardless of whether the gift cost $20 or $100. A 2001 study found that regular volunteering increases happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over life. And it works for young and old folks. Again those who tutor children have more positive attitudes toward the self, others, their education, and the future; and elderly people who volunteer are more satisfied with life.
BOOSTS ENERGY – Researchers found about half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
REDUCES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION – In one study, people with high levels of anxiety who performed at least six acts of kindness each week. At the end, each participants showed an improved mood, increased relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance. When we give of ourselves, especially if we start young, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed. Depression is reduced. Well-being and good fortune are increased.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE – Did you know acts of kindness can also protect your heart explained by medical doctors, that practicing kindness produces oxytocin, a hormone that releases nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and as a result, lowers blood pressure.
REDUCES PAIN – When you practice kindness, endorphins the body’s natural painkillers – are released in your brain. There’s a reason they call it the helpers high. Being kind does, in fact, feel good. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found the same area of the brain that is activated in response to food or sex (namely, pleasure) lit up when the participants in the study thought about giving money to a charity.
PROMOTES LONGEVITY – People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. Even more fascinating, people 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and thats after sorting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more.
HELP SOMEONE – When you do a good deed, you are, of course, helping someone. The homeless person in the photos now has food to eat, no shelter or place to sleep. The person who is the receiver of a good deed or random act of kindness has gotten some help. However, he received more than just a meal or two. In addition to getting food, he also received the message that he is important and worth helping. This good deed warms his heart as well as fills his stomach.
HELP YOURSELF – Besides helping someone, doing a good deed warms your own heart and makes you feel good. Helping others gives you a new perspective and keeps you from focusing on your own problems. By focusing on someone other than yourself, you are reminded that you are not the only one in the world that has problems. In fact, it is possible that there are many people out there whose problems are much worse than yours.
MEET SOMEONE – “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love – Saint Basil . Showing kindness is another of meeting someone and gets a whole new perspective in life. When we help others, we expand the number of our contacts, and hopefully get to know how people from different walks of life live. Our worldview is expanded, and our perspective changes. Also, the chance encounter can blossom into a friendship or a relationship, which may never have happened if we didn’t look outside of our own social circle.
GO TO HEAVEN – There are some religions that believe that you must be a good person in order to get to heaven. This means you have to perform good deeds regularly. Whether you tithe to your religious organization or give alms to the poor, doing good deeds is a way to get to heaven for these religions. For religions that believe in reincarnation, doing good deeds is a great way to earn some karma, in hopes of getting a more positive form in the next life.
IMPROVE SOCIETY – In the movie, PAY IT FORWARD , a child came up with the idea to help three people without accepting anything in return. He would ask the recipient to pay the favour forward to three other people. These three people, in turn, would also help three other people and ask them to pay it forward. When groups of people help each other, it is bound to help society as a whole. When there is a natural disaster, imagine how much faster the recovery would be if people helped each other instead of looting and looking out for their own self-interest.
SHOW VALUES – When you perform a good deed, there is a possibility that someone may have seen you, or may have been told about your good deed. You develop a reputation as a good moral person. Sometimes some of your other flaws are wiped out by the good deeds that you perform. When you share your money, talents, or time with others, you may find that the rewards are so great, that you will share even more. You will be naturally become a more giving, caring, sharing and honourable person.
TEACH BY EXAMPLE – In addition, your good deeds may influence your children and other people in your community to follow suit and do the same or similar kind of giving that you do. Without having to lecture or cajole or compel others, simply by doing, you influence and lead others by your example. When you participate in a community activity, or simply help someone in need, others will see or hear about your actions and be motivated to do the same.
MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE – When you donate your time, skills, or money, you are generally doing it to make something better. Whether you help build a house, or provide library books or a school to children, or help fund research for a disease, the world is becoming a slightly better place with each donation. As you become generous, you feel powerful and work happier. You see the world in a more positive way. As you notice the plight of others, your perspective shifts and you don’t look upon your own problems as much. The little things can be ignored, because you realize how little they truly are. Even though the world didn’t really change, your perspective causes you to look at it in a better light. But it can go even farther than that. You can lead by example to help the world become a better place that values generosity and sharing. By encouraging others to PAY IT FORWARD, you can truly feel some comfort in knowing that when you ever need help, there is a good chance that there will be someone there to help you in your time of need. This allows you to take reasonable chances and walk in the world unafraid.
BETTER RELATIONSHIPS – When were kind, we show someone that they mean something to us. Even if they are a stranger, were saying: your life matters. That kind of attention is special: it will usually induce gratitude, and we know all the benefits that gratitude has on relationships. In a hectic world, even a kind word or a small gesture can snap us out of a bad mood, brighten our day, and bring us closer to the giver. The kindness of strangers can be even more moving, since its so unexpected. A study shows that kindness is more attractive than good looks. It seems people are listening to the typical dating advice: you can tell how a man will treat you by the way he treats the waiter. One reason kindness is good for relationships is that kind people are more empathic. This skill is a key in relationships, where feeling seen and understood is part of the glue holding people together.
BETTER HEALTH – Kindness can also be a route to better health and longer life. Kindness strengthens our immune system, reduces aches and pains, improves our cardiovascular profile, and boosts energy and strength in elderly people. In a 2006 study, the most loving and kind couples were shown to have the lowest levels of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). Various studies in the past 15 years have shown that regular volunteers have better health and (among the elderly and those with HIV/AIDS) a lower mortality rate. So how often should we be out volunteering? Among older people ages 64-68, some studies found that we get the greatest health benefits from volunteering about 2-4 hours a week.
BETTER PERFORMANCE – Finally, there’s some evidence that kind people actually perform better. Studies shows that teachers who tutor 4th and 5th graders improve in their math, reading, and sentence completion skills. Another study, found that high school students who are assigned to volunteer work had fewer teen pregnancies, fewer suspensions, and better grades at school. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, companies that donated to relief efforts saw an unexpected increase in their stock price, with bigger increases for higher donations.
WHY KINDNESS IS GOOD
Each act of kindness might seem small, but its actually changing the way we see ourselves, the way we see others, and the way others see us.
As our kind actions affect the lives of others, we feel more compassionate, confident, useful, and in control. At the same time, we may also feel less guilty or distressed at the problems in our neighbourhood and our world because were doing our part to make a difference. In our normal lives, we may find ourselves feeling more grateful for what we have, and optimistic about the future.
In turn, kindness we make you
- more trusted,
- more likable and
- more worthy of helping others and ourselves
There are so many reasons to do good deeds that go way beyond simply helping the recipient of the deed. You may question your own motivation if you are giving for these reasons instead of giving simply for the sake of giving.
SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE KINDNESS EVERY DAY
They are many ways to practise kindness. For the sake of my readers and viewers I was able to bring out about 10 of them for simplicity of this articles.
- Give up your seat on the train to someone standing
- Tell your loved ones how much you care
- Forgive the driver with road rage
- Give your coworker a genuine compliment
- Practice active listening when someone is talking to you
- Say thank you more often
- Hold the door open
- Put some coins in someone else’s parking meter
- Leave someone a surprise sticky note
SMILE – Even something as simple as a smile can make someone day. Did you know the simple act of smiling releases endorphins and feel good chemicals that are scientifically proven to reduce pain and elevate our happy mood.
GIVE UP YOUR SEAT ON THE TRAIN TO SOMEONE STANDING – Whether its an elderly person or the woman in high heels who has been standing for 20 minutes, choose to be kind and offer your seat to someone in need.
TELL YOUR LOVED ONES HOW MUCH YOU CARE Even when we know someone loves us, its always nice to hear it. Take a minute to send your loved ones a sweet text that shows you’re thinking about them.
FORGIVE THE DRIVER WITH ROAD RAGE – Instead of taking it personally and responding to anger with anger, choose to be kind. Let it go. Chances are that person is having a bad day and could use a little kindness and compassion.
GIVE YOUR COWORKER A GENUINE COMPLIMENT – Surprise your coworker with a compliment, and make sure it comes from the heart. What makes this person unique? What qualities do you admire about them? Try to make the compliment more meaningful. For example, I can tell how hard you worked on that presentation. You had a lot of great ideas. You are acknowledging both their hard work and creativity.
PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING WHEN SOMEONE IS TALKING TO YOU – Are you a good listener? Many of us think that we are listening, when, the truth is we are planning what to say next, eager for our turn to speak. Active listening means focusing entirely on what the other person is saying, processing it and coming up with a thoughtful response. We all want to be heard and understood. Practice kindness by giving someone the gift of truly listening.
SAY THANK YOU MORE OFTEN – Expressing appreciation is an easy way to show kindness. Whether its your spouse or your coworker, saying thank you can strengthen your relationships.
HOLD THE DOOR OPEN – Always glance behind you. It could be holding the door for someone rushing to get on to the train, or another tenant in your building with arms full of groceries/food stuff whoever it may be, holding the door open is a simple, kind gesture that everyone appreciates.
PUT SOME COINS/MONEY IN THE CHARITY BOX AT SUPER MARKET OR MALL – Random acts of kindness don’t always need to be seen. The kindest gestures are the often the ones you do when nobody is watching.
LEAVE SOMEONE A SURPRISE STICKY NOTE – Get creative. Write something funny, inspirational or complimentary. Who wouldn’t love a thoughtful surprise like that?
Other ways of practising simple kindness include;
- share some food
- mow the lawn
- pay a bill for someone
- give a hug
- make a phone call
- open the door
- carry a heavy package for someone
- share your umbrella
- clean up a neighbour surrounding
- give a motivational massage
- make the coffee
10 QUOTES ABOUT THE POWER OF KINDNESS
The following quotes highlight the impact kindness and compassion may have. While the idea of kindness may seem as a threat to some, its effects when in action can be quite powerful.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. -Amelia Earhart
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. -Benjamin Franklin
Kind words, kind looks, kind acts, and warm handshakes-these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting unseen battles. -John Hall
“Things could change so entirely, in a heartbeat; the world could be made entirely anew, because someone was kind.” -Jo Baker
One kind word can change someones entire day. -Unknown
“Every act of kindness is a piece of love we leave behind.” -Paul Williams
“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person.” -Plato
In the end though, no matter what reasons you choose for giving, you should continue to give. Your contribution, no matter what the intention is behind it, will still help make you a better person and the world a better place.
I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.
What is your own views and contributions on this articles?
- What was you own experience of being kind ?
Can you give me example of your own definition of being kind?
After showing such kindness where you happy within you or sad. If yes/no give reasons.
Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!
Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka
University of Benin