It can be as simple as helping a person across the road to as big as paying off some-one’s mortgage.
Recent studies show that older people who engage in volunteering programmes have a reduction in cellular ageing, depression and stress. The young generation that followed 9/11 were the wealthiest, and yet post disaster there was a move to reject materialism and queues appeared at blood banks. This behaviour pattern has continued and whilst kindness is often connected to our families more surprisingly now the empathy extends to social groups, sport clubs, and even colleagues.
To be kind you have to be tough it takes action and good thinking behind it, invariably you are stepping out doing something different. Sadly most people remember act of unkindness more than kindness.
Last week Pret a Manger made it public that their team are encouraged to give free cups of coffee to their favourite customers. I have been the recipient of a coffee at Pret and it was before I knew it was a company initiative. To be honest it just felt lovely on the day and I did not really analyse it any further. With hindsight I should have shared the act of kindness with others as we need to affirm more acts, to keep the momentum.
Recently a local car park had a bucket appear below the paying machine with change and a sign saying help yourself. I always try and share change at the pay machine and enjoy it being recipiated by others. The bucket was that step further to trusting others and being totally altruistic.
Behaviour is contagious so if you let one person out of a road junction and they give you a great smile and a flash of their lights you are more inclined to do it again.
German physicist Stefan Klein the author of “Survival of the nicest” says that we should experiment with kindness. “No-one is expecting you to donate a kidney to complete a stranger. Start by helping somebody on the street where it was not expected”.
The prescription for this week is to try taking the drug of kindness – as Klein says experiment small acts this week that make other peoples lives better, be altruistic and absorb the value and you will feel better.
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