All of us have been the beneficiaries of a random act of kindness at some time or another. Whether a stranger smiled at us or held a door or our mom's baked us yummy cookies, we've all felt a little warmer inside because someone was kind. But how often have YOU acted kindly in a random way? Turns out, the more often you do the happier you could be.
Research shows committing a random act of kindness can lower stress hormones markedly. Other research indicates acts of kindness could also aid in lowering blood pressure. People who report committing more kind acts report higher relationships satisfaction and greater overall positivity as well.
Psychologist Molly Allen shares, though, there is one important caveat to random kindness - it's most effective when it's completely altruistic. "I think the best scenario is when you have a certain amount of anonymity...If you're not seeking any [secondary gain], it's just simply to do something nice for somebody else, that's when you get the biggest bang for your buck."
Ready to be kind AND get happy? The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has some wonderful suggestions for how to do just that.
- Let someone cut you in line (at a drive-thru, waiting at Starbucks, etc);
- Pay for someone's coffee, toll, tank of gas;
- Bake cookies for a neighbor;
- Write an encouraging note to a coworker;
- Give blood;
- Volunteer once a month.
Want to know the best part? Committing these acts anonymously is wonderful BUT... seeing someone else commit a kind act can inspire a person to do the same, to pay it forward. We as humans are prone to something called "group think," says Dr. Allen, and what others around us do can affect how we behave. So for your own good and for the good of many others, make a goal today to commit a random act of kindness! Be kind!