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Random Acts of Kindness Week

Posted on February 16th, 2016

"In a world where you can be anything, be kind." What a perfect quote to inspire us as we celebrate International Random Acts of Kindness Week, beginning February 14 through February 20. Originally founded by Josh de Jong of New Zealand, Random Acts of Kindness Day is now observed by countries all over the world on different dates throughout the year. In fact, there is an entire organization called the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, dedicated to making kindness not only a daily occurrence, but a philosophy of life.

The motive behind this gracious movement is simply to share some joy. You may choose to share kindness with someone you know. Or perhaps you'd prefer to show kindness to a stranger who least expects it. The point is, kindness is contagious. When you help someone, that person benefits and feels good because of you. You feel great for having done a good deed, and anyone who may have witnessed your act of kindness probably has a smile on their face as well. Just like that, your single act of kindness has a ripple effect and is spreading joy in all directions.

And, the news gets even better! According to an article in Good Housekeeping, the benefits of performing random acts of kindness are more than just psychological. It's now believed that physiological benefits occur as well, including lowering blood pressure. David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., explains that doing a good deed releases a hormone called oxytocin, which causes the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which then dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. The best part is, these physiological benefits occur for both the giver and the recipient. Dr. Hamilton says "Kindness is literally good for your heart."

As you consider the random acts of kindness you plan to carry out this week and ongoing, remember; the point is for someone else to feel the warmth, not for them to know it was you, carry out your acts without expecting something back, and don't forget to be kind to yourself! Here are some ideas to get you started, including some random acts to do with your kids or grandkids:

  • Send someone a card or thank you note, just because
  • Tell a family member that you appreciate them
  • Say something kind to someone helping you in a restaurant or store
  • Really listen to someone with any distraction or interruption
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line
  • Make muffins for your neighbor
  • Buy flowers for a cashier at a store
  • Invite someone who is alone over for dinner
  • Share happy memories. Stick an old photo in the mail to a friend and write a note about the day it was taken on the back
  • Buy some extra groceries for the local food bank or volunteer
  • Adopt a rescue pet
  • Pay for the person behind you at the drive through or toll booth
  • Give someone an unexpected compliment
  • Phone an old friend to reconnect
  • Share your ice cream
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Bake cookies and bring them to a nearby fire station
  • Even more ideas

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