Be nice. It’s good for you!
Reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, feel happier and improve your emotional well-being – all without a change in diet, exercise or medication. How? Become a RAKtivist!
‘RAKtivist’ is short for ‘Random Acts of Kindness activist’. It’s a real thing! Think of RAKtivists like kindness ambassadors. They simply make kindness their norm. They do things like hold doors for people, offer their seats to others, extend forgiveness, send notes in the mail to show they care, donate money and volunteer for charity, compliment others, smile and say hello to strangers, speak kindly to restaurant servers, and the list goes on and on, as far as the mind can imagine.
Medical science has proven that being kind alters your body chemistry; not only does it lower blood pressure, it improves your mood and feelings of competence and provides a sense of meaning and connectedness. And, these benefits are contagious! An act of kindness boosts serotonin, a natural antidepressant in your brain, in the giver, the receiver AND those who witness it. Those witnessing the kindness may feel inspired themselves to be kind to someone else. In this way, kindness spreads from one person to the next. Let’s start a worldwide kindness epidemic!
Most of us encounter many opportunities to show kindness every single day. Some of us seize those opportunities. Others of us just don’t notice those opportunities. Still others might actively ignore them.
Perhaps we need to be more mindful, intentional, to notice and absorb these opportunities, and even to go out of our comfort zone to make them happen. Make yourself a sticky note or set an alert on your phone as a “kindness reminder” to compliment a coworker, allow someone to merge in traffic with a wave and a smile, pay for someone’s coffee at the coffee shop, etc.
It might feel strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. Make kindness your norm. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you. And the world will be a better place because of it.
National Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17. But don’t wait, start today!