At the start of each new year, we reflect on what we can do to make this year the best one yet. Many New Year’s resolutions are focused inward – how can I make myself feel better? Actually, one very simple way is to turn your focus outward. Small acts of kindness to others will not only make them feel better, it will make you feel better too.
Wish kids and families often tell us that one of the most impactful parts of the wish experience was the kindness they received from total strangers. “Everyone we met went out of their way to make me feel special. It was an incredible feeling.” Or, “I was astonished that so many people cared about my daughter.”
This year we challenge you to perform one small act of kindness every day for a month. Whether it’s for family, friends or a total stranger, strive to be kind intentionally! An act as small as holding the door open for someone, giving a compliment, or even saying hello to a stranger has mental and physical health benefits:
- It feels good.
- When you help others, it promotes positive physiological change in the brain associated with happiness! More serotonin rushes are often followed by longer periods of calm and can eventually lead to better well-being.
- It brings a sense of belonging and reduces isolation.
- Being a part of a social network leads to a feeling of belonging. When you do something kind for your friends or family, it brings you even closer to them and increases the sense of commonality.
- It reduces stress.
- Positive emotions, like gratitude and thoughtfulness, reduce stress and boost our immune system and in turn can protect us against disease.
- It gets rid of negative feelings.
- Engaging in random acts of kindness can help decrease feelings of anger, aggression or hostility. Reducing negative emotions can stabilize our overall health!
- It helps keep things in perspective.
- Helping others in need can provide a real sense of perspective and make you realize what is positive about your own life. This helps you achieve a more positive outlook on the things that may be causing your stress.
Evidence shows that daily acts of kindness makes the world a better place for everyone. Here are some ideas to try this month:
- Give someone your seat on the bus or subway.
- Share your umbrella.
- Leave change in the vending machine.
- Leave a big tip.
- Smile at someone on the street, just because.
- Let someone into your lane. They're probably in a rush just like you.
- Talk to the shy person who's sitting by themselves at a party.
- Help a mother with her baby stroller.
- Let the person behind you at the supermarket checkout with one or two items go ahead of you.
- Hold the elevator.
We wish you a very Happy New Year!