Do you remember the last time you performed a random act of kindness for a stranger or person that you barely knew? Your random act of kindness most likely made that person’s day. But, how did it make you feel?
Random acts of kindness are beneficial for the recipient and the giver. Last winter, we had the pleasure of meeting new neighbors. They moved into the home across from ours. The house was vacant for a number of months which allowed the bentgrass to grow a few extra inches. Even though Florida winters aren’t very cold, I knew our new neighbors were anything but eager to mow down overgrown grass after unpacking endless moving containers. We decided to handle their lawn care needs as a random act of kindness.
The husband was stunned at our novel act; he shook my hand and enthusiastically invited us over for dinner that night. Dinner went well as both of our families got to know each other a bit better. Before going back home, his wife gave our family a warm hug and wished us good-night. Our random act of kindness made them feel welcomed and loved as our new neighbors. Additionally, this novel act made my wife and I feel blessed and empowered – we were delighted to have our new friends. We also looked forward to our next act of kindness.
Giving Kindness Makes You Happy
Giving kindness and helping others makes us intrinsically happy. Being the giver in a random act of kindness creates a virtuous cycle of peace and joy. A study in the Journal of Social Psychology, found that individuals who had performed a daily act of kindness for either a stranger or a special someone, had a higher life satisfaction compared to individuals who performed no act of kindness.
We should give unconditionally if we can afford to do so. Research suggest that random acts of kindness makes us feel happier – both immediately and in the long-term. The Journal of Happiness Studies found that givers who spent $50 on someone else through gift or donation, measured happier than individuals who used the same money to cover a personal expense or purchased a gift for themselves. The study also followed up on a later time to see if the individuals who used the money on someone else still felt the same sense of happiness. The answer is surprisingly no, as researchers found that the givers felt happier than before when recalling their random act of kindness. Most remarkably, the happier the givers felt about their past acts of kindness, the higher the likelihood of them repeating a novel act for someone else.
Random Acts of Kindness In The Animal World
There are evident examples of altruistic behaviors in the animal kingdom as “warning calls” are given by many species of animals, such as passerine birds, prairie dogs, and squirrels. One might think that these behaviors only benefit the receivers as they are now warned of incoming dangers and can hide or “flee to safety”. As a negative side effect, the giver delays his/her opportunity to escape to safety and may even attract the attention of the predator due to the increased noise. On the flip side, modern science believes these altruistic traits ensure the survival of the species – therefore passing the altruistic characteristics to each new generation.
So what does this mean for us? As humans, we are also part of evolutionary biology, and feel a sense of happiness when helping someone else. Happier people tend to have a more fulfilling and rewarding life in addition to greater health and longevity.
Random Acts Of Kindness Is Mutual Human Love
Individuals who are selflessly compassionate for the well-being of others tend to feel happier and healthier. If you are not accustomed to random acts of kindness, you may feel reluctant to try it at first. However, the key is to start small (giving a friend a ride) and slowly invest in the act (give a special gift).
Kindness is essential for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Compassion for others and human love is what lifts our spirits into the universe. The benefits will be mutual when you give to others; and the sentiments will be long-lasting. What are you waiting for? Practice random acts of kindness to give and receive love.