Random Acts of KindNess
“He who distributes the milk of human kindness cannot help but spill a little on himself”
- James Matthew Barrie
One of the quickest and best ways to stop thinking about our own misery is to focus on how we can improve the life of someone else, even if only just for a moment. Doing good deeds or Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) take our focus off of our own trials and tribulations, help us to see that others may be even less fortunate than ourselves and facilitate our gratitude for what is currently good in our own lives right now.
In addition, there is some scientific evidence that proves doing good for others is good for us. There was a study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri which showed that when brains are scanned with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) while making charitable donations vs refusing to make charitable donations, the same area of the brain which is affected by receiving monetary rewards also lights up with the giving of charitable donations. Giving and helping others makes us feel just as good as receiving financial rewards.
Good acts can come in many forms such as monetary donations, time or prayers. Each form has benefits and no form is necessarily better than the other.
Performing good acts is a win-win.
This one is simple. Make it a point to perform various acts of kindness. These can be long-term commitments to non-profit agencies or quick, two-second acts that have long term effects. Here are some suggestions for the small RAKs:
- Buy a dozen flowers and hand them out at random.
- Pay for someone’s toll behind you.
- Help someone across the street.
- Gather a few neighbors to help clean up the worst yard on the block.
- Leave an anonymous note for a co-worker telling them what you value in them.
- Ask the grocery store clerk how their day is before they ask you and ask with sincerity.
In addition, there are a great number of charity organizations that could use your donation of time and/or money. Consider some of these great charities:
- Singleton Moms, www.singletonmoms.org Supporting single parents with cancer.
- Junior Achievement, www.ja.org. Educating children in financial literacy.
- Or use a service like Volunteer Match, www.volunteermatch.org, to find a need in your area.
Taking a few moments or even a few hours a week to think about someone else’s needs may be the greatest boost to your own positive outlook you’ll find. It is just like taking a drug only without all the side effects.
Remember, it takes practice.