Mind

Gemma McCaw on why you should embrace random acts of kindness

As Princess Diana once advised, "Carry out random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

Have you ever received a random act of kindness that completely brightened up your day? No doubt it lifted your spirits and left a warm impression.

If we showed more thoughtfulness, the world would be a happier place.

As Princess Diana once advised, "Carry out random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

In our busy lives, it's very easy to get self-absorbed, but other people's wellbeing matters and engaging in small, thoughtful deeds could change someone else's day in such a positive way.

Your act of kindness can create a ripple effect and spread happiness to everyone who witnessed it. It can boost the mood of those present and they are then significantly more likely to pay it forward.

When we give of ourselves, especially from a young age, our physical health and life satisfaction significantly improve, and it also reduces negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression. Go on, give it a go!

I have listed my top 6 reasons to be kind below

You can change someone’s life

You never know what another person is going through. A small act of thoughtfulness can go a long way and really connect us. Kindness strengthens a sense of community and belonging, and gives hope to those who receive it.

Kindness is contagious

If you engage in acts of kindness, it will encourage others to do the same, thereby creating a snowball effect so your generosity can impact on many people.

It makes you happy

Research suggests that even just thinking about helping others activates the reward pathway in the brain, which produces the feel-good chemical dopamine.

It changes our perspective

Doing something for others often puts everything into perspective. Helping someone, especially those less fortunate than ourselves, builds compassion and empathy. Rather than looking at what we are missing in life, we can count our own blessings.

Kindness reduces stress

A positive side effect of giving is that your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which expands your blood vessels, lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress. This is also helpful when we're anxious or shy socially.

Just do it!

Here's some acts to try this week: Let someone in at a traffic stop, pay a compliment, help someone at work with a project, cook a meal for a busy person, surprise someone with a small gift, talk to a neighbour, shout a pal a coffee, leave a kind note, bake for someone or smile at a stranger. Try it – I think you'll like it!

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