There is a phrase people used to use this time of the year along the lines of ‘goodwill to all men’. I haven’t heard it for a while, have you? Not even paraphrased to ‘…all men and women’ or even ‘… to all humankind’.
Those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while will have noticed that I’m always encouraging you to give random acts of kindness.
I just remembered reading an interview with Mother Theresa where the journalist was shocked at the squalor of her environment and praised her selflessness. In reply, she exclaimed, “You don’t understand! I’m happy!”
There is such a thing as ‘enlightened self-interest’ which is another way of saying that we givers benefit just as much (if not more) than the recipients!
If you’re in any doubt, then here’s the result of one particular piece of research that caught my eye.
Did you know that kindness is contagious? It’s true! It doesn’t just affect the giver and the recipient but even people who saw you doing it! Apparently, it makes them more likely to ‘pay it forward’.
‘Paying it forward’ gets its name from the lovely film of the same name. The phrase seems to have become mainstream (just like ‘bucket list’ which is also the title of a film).
Here’s something amazing.
I have become the recipient of a marketing specialist’s ‘paying it forward’ project!
She emailed me out of the blue saying that she and her team had had a fabulous year and so, this time of year they tend to approach some people – this year I’m included in her list – with a view to ‘paying it forward’. Can you imagine how that made me feel?
But ‘paying it forward’ isn’t the half of it!
Kindness increases the love hormone! I bet you didn’t know there was such a thing. It’s the hormone oxytocin. I thought it’s produced by things like hugging (which I love!) but, apparently, it’s much more.
Oxytocin lowers blood pressure and improves our optimism and self-esteem which is very helpful especially in social situations when we feel awkward.
But oxytocin is not the only hormone generated by random acts of kindness. These acts produce serotonin too – another good hormone that, according to research, does all kinds of great things to improve our physical and emotional wellbeing!
As you can imagine, researchers didn’t stop there but you get the idea.
That’s why so many people help out in soup kitchens for the homeless over the Christmas period. Yes, they are open-hearted and generous but I bet they feel great doing it!
What acts of kindness could YOU do?
With love and gratitude,