On Friday 13th November 2015 it was International Day of Kindness. One of our IAPT colleagues Sally P has written the following piece to highlight the widespread benefits of random acts of kindness:
Although on those bad days it can feel like we live in a society where people are uncaring, there has been a recent increase of individuals using social media to share examples of kindness in our society. This is becoming so popular that there is now a movement of nearly a million people who support ‘random acts of kindness’. This means that people are carrying out more and more acts of kindness for both people close to them and complete strangers without expecting any payment or recognition.
Once we start to look there are even more examples of kindness in key areas of our society, for example the internet was originally created by individuals who were not fuelled by personal gain, they just wanted to connect networks of people together around the world. Even today the internet still relies on kindness of others and it could not function without it, it needs specialised individuals to pass on ‘packets of information’ down a network even just to do a simple task such as click ‘like’ on a friend’s comment on Facebook. The information site Wikipedia is another example, it is attacked by thousands of people on a daily basis who try to change information so that it is incorrect, in order to contract this thousands of computer programmers log in daily out of the kindness of their hearts and spend time rectifying changes, without payment because they care.
We know from a wealth of research that there is a strong link between kindness and our mental wellbeing. When we carry out an act of kindness it not only has an impact not that person, but it also improves our own level of happiness and self esteem. The evidence is so strong that The World Health Organisation now recommends five things that we should all do daily to look after our mental wellbeing, one of which is ‘giving’. They recommend trying to include kindness towards others on a daily basis, which might be something as simple of giving our time to another person.
If you would like to feel the benefit from kindness it might be thinking about what small thing can you do to help someone in your life as ‘helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person’.