Why kindness counts: 10 good deeds you can do today

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Health Assured team

25 October 2021

“How do we change the word? One random act of kindness at a time.” Morgan Freeman. 

It’s true what they say. A little bit of kindness—really does go a long way. Acts of kindness create a ripple effect on your outside world. These acts generate an impact that spans far and wide, and there are many scientific studies to prove it. Studies show that kindness:

· Protects overall health 

· Reduces the stress hormone cortisol 

· Decreases anxiety and social avoidance 

· Increases energy and self-worth 

As humans, we are born with a natural in-built negativity bias. This bias evolved to protect our ancestors from potentially harmful stimuli in the environment¹. But it also means that we are primed to respond and pay more attention to negative stimuli in our lives. Kindness can act as an antidote to this predisposition. It's a superpower that transforms our outward perceptions. 

Kindness can radically change our experience of our own lives, and it can transform the lives of others too. With a little more joy in the world, we’ll all be healthier, happier and more connected. And the best part of all? It’s free, simple and you can do it anytime, anywhere. 

Every year, World Kindness Day encourages people across the globe to choose kindness—and this year—that day is the 13th of November. Since the day of kindness is soon to be in full flow, we want to inspire you to spread a little more love and light out into the world that day. Challenge yourself to carry out one of the random acts of kindness below!

1. Compliment someone.

It’s simple, easy and costs nothing. But you might make someone’s day. Make the compliment sincere. Find something you like about the way someone looks, acts or interacts with others. 

2. Smile at a stranger.

Studies show that smiling can foster new conversation, boost your mood and improve communication². 

3. Make someone a cuppa.

A hot drink soothes the soul. But it’s even better when someone else makes it. Spread joy in the little gestures by surprising someone with a cuppa.

4. Call someone you think might be having a tough time.

Take the time to really listen. They'll feel heard and understood, which can often make a world of difference. 

5. Say thank you more.

Gratitude is a superpower that helps us positively reframe situations and decreases depressive symptoms³. 

6. Donate to a charity.

It could be clothes to a charity shop, money to a cause you care about or blankets to a homeless shelter.

7. Find out something new about someone close to you.

When you see someone every day, it can be easy to recite the same conversations over and over. Mix it up and make some new connections with those around you. 

8. Recommend to a friend.

Let someone know they are on your mind by passing on a book or film recommendation you think they might like. It shows you care and lets them know you’re there.

9. Bring in treats for colleagues.

Surprise your team with some unexpected treats to brighten up their day. 

10. Reminisce on good times with a friend.

Studies show that positive reminiscence can boost happiness⁴. Reach out to a friend and connect over good memories together—you’ll both be happier as a result.

 

References

¹ Rozin P, Royzman EB. Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2001;5(4):296-320. doi:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0504_2

² Vaish A, Grossmann T, Woodward A. Not all emotions are created equal: the negativity bias in social-emotional development. Psychol Bull. 2008 May;134(3):383-403. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.383. PMID: 18444702; PMCID: PMC3652533.

³ Nathaniel M. Lambert, Frank D. Fincham & Tyler F. Stillman (2012) Gratitude and depressive symptoms: The role of positive reframing and positive emotion, Cognition and Emotion, 26:4, 615-633, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.595393

⁴ Bryant, F.B., Smart, C.M. & King, S.P. Using the Past to Enhance the Present: Boosting Happiness Through Positive Reminiscence. J Happiness Stud 6, 227–260 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-005-3889-4

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