Kindness is something that we often take for granted. It’s something that’s free, optional, and comes in many different forms. Being kind is so important, because acts of kindness have been seen to go a long way. Just saying ‘thank you’ might brighten someone’s day. It may be that they haven’t heard that phrase in a while, and haven’t felt appreciated, but a small expression of thanks could lift their spirits. Or smiling at someone if they’ve made a mistake, instead of casting them a dirty look, could change the way the person feels about themselves for the rest of their day. There are so many benefits of being kind, some proven scientifically, but one thing is for sure: kindness helps everyone, it’s not just a personal gain. Despite costing nothing, the value of kindness cannot be counted with money.
Kindness is very contagious. Indeed, an invisible behaviour is very infectious. This has also been scientifically proven as well. A 2016 study found that when someone is generous to you, you are more likely to be generous to other people, and so on. As well as this, there is a family documentary called ‘Kindness is contagious’, produced in 2014, which explores the impacts of human compassion. The results of both the study and the documentary have the same message: if someone treats you with kindness, you feel good and better about yourself, and it is more likely that you will go and treat someone else with kindness. Imagine if the whole world decided to be kind to one another? Maybe we could solve world issues, personal predicaments, much more quickly. The famous saying ‘kindness goes a long way’ perfectly summarises this.
Surprisingly, being kind could also help you live longer. Studies have shown that if an individual frequently engaged themselves in acts of kindness throughout their lives, they have a lower death risk. Weird, right? How can kindness, an invisible behaviour, have a long term impact on the length of our lives? Dr Kelli Harding wrote about this in her book, ‘The rabbit effect’. She explains how the impact of kindness, compassion and connection can have on one’s health. Kindness helps the immune system, blood pressure, and as Harding said, ‘it helps people to live longer and better. It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it. It’s also free. It’s right there’. One very interesting finding from her research was that chronic loneliness can be as fatal as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, yet chronic loneliness could be dealt with through kindness, a much simpler solution to dealing with an addiction to smoking. Through kindness, we can all live longer.
The brain also benefits from kindness. When we participate in acts of kindness, neutral pathways are established, enhancing the feelings of well-being, as well as increasing the flow of the happy hormone, endorphins. ‘The art of kindness’ is known to also boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters responsible for the feelings of self-satisfaction and well-being. Being kind lets us feel in a state of euphoria. So not only does being kind benefit others, it also helps you. You feel better, happier and content with yourself, promoting positive mental health.
Something that is equally important, to being kind to others, is being kind to yourselves. Dr Harding said that being kind to others can be easier than being kind to ourselves. We may find ourselves not giving enough self-recognition, self credit, self-forgiveness or self-care. This is something that is usually dismissed, but this is in fact is very important, in developing the power of acceptance and self-growth. Being kind to yourself promotes happiness and confidence, and how you treat yourself also sets the tone for how others will treat you.
Kindness is something that will stay with you forever. It is an essential key to sustainable happiness, and ensures that we live emotionally, physically and mentally healthy. It instantly improves the quality of life, as well as the quantity of life! Remember to ‘treat others how you would like to be treated’, but also to invest in yourself. Tell yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes, and that you deserve generosity, compassion and self-investment as well.
Here are a few quotes that perfectly sums up kindness:
‘Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see’- Mark Twain
‘The simplest acts of kindness are far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.’- Mahatma Gandhi
‘Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.’- Henry James
Grace, 14, London
Read more from Grace
How Tolu shows Kindness
How does kindness help in modern society?
In more recent times it seems to be very hard to be kind towards others when it is hard to see kindness all around us.
But how helpful is kindness today? and what are some simple ways to be kind towards others? It is helpful as, scientifically, it has been shown that just one act of kindness can reduce stress levels, anxiety and even aid with depression. These three things are very common in modern day life which is just one way in which kindness is helpful. Secondly but more obviously, it is very caring to be kind. Imagine a world in which no one was kind to each other, and everyone only did things out of anger and selfishness, would this be a world you would like to live in? for many of us the answer would be a decisive no. Which is why, it is important that we all create a kind society that we would want to live in with just one act of kindness.
So how can we start to be more kind to others? Well, there are many ways to do this and it does not have to always be a grand gesture. For example:
- Holding doors open for people
- Giving your time to others
- Encouraging words or messages
- Making handmade gifts
Tolu, 14, Leicestershire
Read more from Tolu
Kindness by Dylann
In my previous blog, I stated that within each of us we withhold a unique superpower that makes a part of who we are. However, we also hold something with great influence; kindness.
This blog will describe the Power of Kindness within yourself and the others around you.
Simply, kindness is the (according the OED) quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. This small, free act of kindness has two recipients; those who act and those who receive.
I am sure you have heard that those who are kind have a big heart. When kindness is acted out, the hormone Oxytocin is released which stimulates the release of Nitric Oxide in the blood vessels causing the blood vessels to dilate. This is done to reduce blood pressure which strengthens your heart physically and emotionally.
We all live a chaotic life; the stress of exams, relationships, work and not to mention a global pandemic; it seems that stress is around the corner. But the simple act of kindness solves this. By doing kind things, your attention diverts from the stress factors in your life, to doing a good thing and this gives you a break from your problems.
Furthermore, an act of kindness helps us to demonstrate a positive identity. A recent study involving children (in their first year of secondary school) realised how the act of being kind can make you feel “better as a person” and “more complete” which ultimately leads to the feelings of joy and happiness.
“What comes around goes around”, a common phrase we are all used to hearing when someone does something bad; but what about when someone does something good? Well, when someone is kind a ripple effect spreads from the source (the one who acted kind) to the recipient and further in society. This ripple effect makes others kinder and lifts everyone’s spirits.
If someone ever asks you “what’s the catch to kindness?” just say “there isn’t one, there are no side effects to being kind, only the added benefits.”
In such a world rife with disorder and stress, the simple, costless act of kindness has such a great influence and it is another superpower we all possess, so wield it and spread your kindness!
Here are few (out of thousands) acts of kindness you should try out whenever you see an opportunity:
- Pay a compliment to someone,
- Buy food for a homeless person,
- Help someone who is struggling,
- Send a good morning to everyone you know and remind them to have a positive day,
- Give someone a hug,
- Share a joke with someone to make their day.
Stay Positive and Stay Productive
Dylann, 17, Leicester (IG @Dylann.spsp)
Read more from Dylann
Emilia keeping it simple
“Simple kindness may be the most vital key to the riddle of how human beings can live with each other in peace, and care properly for this planet we all share.” – Bo Lozoff
Currently in this time, I feel as though many find it easier to hate than love. Our opinions of others grow ever stronger and many divides have been created in humanity. We have started 2021 on the wrong foot, hate in the USA has built up and in doing so has brought destruction to a key historic building. This was derived from anger and hate which fuelled ignorance. Yet, the lack of love experienced in 2020, ignited this rage and in doing so allowed the fire to spread faster.
With the power of kindness I believe we can change this. Not every war must be won with violence but can be settled with peace and love. Kindness and respect could create peace amongst enemy’s and can help bring our planet together in harmony. Disagreements can be solved by unity and patriotism which allows the love of the country to bring everyone together no matter your belief, colour of skin and political standpoint.
Especially, in 2021, with months without close physical contact, many people have been distant and suffering from mental illness without the help of those they love. Now is time to implement a mask smile or say good morning as you cross by in the street. These small acts can help make a persons day and can relieve the stress that COVID-19 has put on them. Kindness will save lives and give people strength to fight harder. We as a community must find friendships and support systems, reaching out to those in need. In addition, a clap for key workers shows this love and gratitude for those saving lives.
This year we must also show kindness to our planet, who has been wounded by our neglect. The everyday person can reduce the waste of single use plastics and recycle more however we can also petition for change. Even when everyone reduces plastic waste, we must also tackle the large industries effecting our planet. For thousands of years planet earth has given us a home and it is time we step up and return the love.
Emilia, 14, Leicester
Read more from Emilia
COG Youth Services Ltd’s blog is reader-supported. If you buy an item through links on our site, we may earn a small fee know as affiliate commission.