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1 Random Act of Kindness, 1x Per Week, for 1 Month... Who's In?

inflammation kindness Nov 18, 2021

Here’s Something Worth Spreading... 

Just last week, a complete stranger made my day.

I was waiting in line at the drive-through of my local coffee shop. And to be honest, I was feeling a bit down that morning. (Understandable, given the grim news we’re all continually faced with lately.)

When it was my turn to pay, I pulled up to the window and started fishing my credit card out of my wallet until the employee at the register stopped me.

“No need for that. The woman in the car ahead of you just paid for the next five orders!” she said.

This pleasant surprise put a huge smile on my face.

I decided to keep the kindness going by leaving the girl at the drive-thru window a big tip—which put a huge smile on her face.

This very small but generous interaction shifted my mood in a matter of seconds.

It also provided me a much-needed reminder that although there’s plenty of bad that exists in the world, there’s also still a lot of good.

And as it turns out, research shows acts of kindness not only boost your mood, but they also benefit your health…

It pays to be kind

One of the best ways to show kindness is through volunteer work. And a 2014 study looked at nearly 2,000 adults between the ages of 57 and 85 to analyze how engaging in certain activities—including volunteering—affected the subjects’ health. In particular, they measured the subjects’ levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

High levels of CRP indicate high levels of inflammation, which has been linked to increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, depression, and even cancer.

Of all the activities, the participants who volunteered regularly had the lowest levels of CRP.

In a 2012 study, 142 people with social anxiety were tasked with completing a series of kind acts over a 4-week period.

The study participants answered questionnaires about mood and social markers and were also asked to rate their mood, anxiety, and level of social activity each week.

Researchers found that performing kind acts helped the participants:

  • Feel more satisfied in their relationships
  • Decrease their avoidance of social situations
  • Increase their expression of positive emotions

These positive effects persisted throughout the entire study period.

And other research has linked kindness to:

  • Decreased stress
  • Increased lifespan
  • Relieving depression
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Strengthening the immune system

The best part about kindness is that it’s something you can do anytime, anywhere. 

A “kindness pandemic”

During the drive home from my inspiring drive-through experience, I got to thinking…

What if each one of my 30,000 + readers and I performed one random act of kindness, once a week, for one month?

That’s just four acts of kindness, multiplied by 30,000 like-minded individuals. That’s 120,000 good deeds, smiles, good feelings... just in one month’s time!

But then what if those people were kind to "pay it forward"?

Just do the math and you'll see the exponentially positive potential of this simple idea.

Now if you DO decide to join me in these weekly acts of kindness, science shows you’re likely to inspire others to “pay it forward.” In fact, a group of researchers at UCLA and University of Plymouth in the UK found that when we see a person help someone else, it makes us feel good. And as a result, we tend to go out and commit our own act of kindness.

With just a little effort, we could work together to inspire millions of kind acts all over the world.

Think of it as a “kindness pandemic!”

I don’t mean to make light of the ongoing fight against COVID-19. And of course, it’s critical to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

My point is that the world can always use a little more kindness—and that’s true now more than ever.

So let’s get started…

Ten easy ways to spread kindness

In case you need some inspiration, here are a few easy (and socially distant) ideas to get your wheels turning:

  1. Deliver groceries to an elderly neighbor
  2. Give blood
  3. Mow your neighbor’s lawn
  4. Leave a nice gift for your delivery or postal workers
  5. Pay someone a heartfelt compliment
  6. Pick up litter in your neighborhood
  7. Research what volunteer opportunities are available (and most needed) in your community
  8. Send a note to an old friend or family member, letting them know you were thinking of them
  9. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line (like the woman at the coffee shop did for me!)
  10. Tell an essential worker how much you appreciate the work they’re doing

Whatever you choose to do, I bet you’ll feel great afterward! Drop me a line on my Facebook Page to share your stories and ideas with me.

And while you’re committing all of these random acts of kindness, remember to be kind to yourself, too. You deserve it.

Be well, 

Jim


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SOURCES: 
Alden, L and Trew, J. (2012). If it makes you happy: engaging in kind acts increases positive
affect in socially anxious individuals. Emotion. 13(1): pp. 64 – 75. Retrieved from:
pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22642341/
Mehner, S. (2010). Kindness is contagious, new study finds. Helix. Retrieved from:
helix.northwestern.edu/article/kindness-contagious-new-study-finds
Seoyoun, K. and Ferraro, K. (2013). Do Productive Activities Reduce Inflammation in Later Life?
Multiple Roles, Frequency of Activities, and C-Reactive Protein. Gerontologist. 54(5): pp. 830 – 839.
Retrieved from: academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/54/5/830/627130
Thompson, A. (2019). Being kind could help you live longer. Yahoo! Style.
Retrieved from: uk.style.yahoo.com/being-kind-could-help-you-live-longer-
144903925.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=ma&guccounter=1
Zaki, J. (2016). Kindness Contagion. Scientific American. Retrieved from:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kindness-contagion/

 

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