This week has been Random Acts of Kindness Week, and Feb 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. You might think this sounds a bit gimmicky, but actually this is a brilliant way to do something nice for someone. And from a purely selfish perspective, performing random acts of kindness can actually do great things for your own mood and wellbeing.
Research shows that performing kind acts or good deeds can make socially anxious people feel better. It has been shown that those of us who do good deeds for others become happier over time, feeling more positive and optimistic. Dr David Hamilton has researched this, and states that acts of kindness can make us happier, releasing oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.”
Study after study has shown that doing something nice for someone else, without expecting something in return, can help to improve your physical health as well as emotional wellbeing. In fact, some studies have even shown that developing the habit of being kind can reduce pain, stress, anxiety, blood pressure and depression. Even without the studies, you can probably think of a time you have done something for someone and felt good because of it.
We want to encourage everyone to use Random Acts of Kindness Day as an excuse to go out and show kindness to others. You don’t need to use our examples; you can do anything that involves kindness. We’d love to hear about your acts of kindness too so don’t forget to share your kindness on social media using the tag #MyScentered2017. You can share on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter or Instagram where we are @iamscentered. We’re really looking forward to seeing your kindness, and hearing about how it’s affected your day.
If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t worry; read on to hear what Team Scentered has been up to, and for some more inspiration.
Performing a random act of kindness doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming - unless you want it to be! We challenged some of our Scentered team members to perform some random acts of kindness this week. Here’s what they came up with:
Our co-founder Fay has children and knows the importance of leading by example when it comes to behaviour. She decided to leave sticky notes for her children in unexpected places: on a pillow; in a school bag or lunch box. Although it sounds silly, Fay reported back that seeing the look on her child’s face when they found a little note saying “mummy loves you” really made her heart melt
Kerry, our Instagram guru decided to make an effort to compliment as many people as possible this week. Not only “your hair looks nice” but also things like “you did really well with this” or “I appreciate your effort on this.” She reports back that not only did she brighten her friends’ days, she also found that she felt happier in herself when she saw the effect her words had on others.
Lucy, our Marketing Director, says “My friend has been poorly so I’ve taken care of her and made her smile on a trip to Lululemon to play in their photo booth. Afterwards we drank wellbeing tea in Tri-Yoga and I carried her bags all the way home. It felt good to pamper a friend when I knew she hadn’t been feeling good.”
Sam in our sales team does a lot of driving, so she decided to let people pull out in front of her whenever she wasn’t pushed for time. She tells us it took a bit of getting used to, but she could see the surprised looks on other drivers’ faces, and knowing it might have brightened their day made her feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Jane in the warehouse decided to use this week as an excuse to praise her co-workers wherever possible. She says “it’s easy to just let things slide and not acknowledge people’s hard work because it’s their job, but just a simple you did that really well, thank you made me feel good for saying it, and I could tell my co-workers loved hearing it too.”
Now we’re challenging you to join in; it’s never too late or a bad time to perform a random act of kindness. What can you do today or tomorrow, to show kindness to others? Here are ten simple ideas:
Pay for the person behind you - whether in a coffee shop or the queue for train station toilets, paying for the person behind you is one of those simple things that will both surprise and delight the recipient. Tell someone what you appreciate about them - when we see someone every day, it’s easy to just take for granted that they know how we feel. Even if they do already know you think they’re great, telling them just what you appreciate, and why they’re fantastic, can only serve to make both of you feel good.
Leave treats in the staff room - if you have a shared staff room at work, leave a bag of treats in there for your co-workers, with an anonymous note to tell them it’s ok to eat them. Watch people’s faces as they tuck into their surprise snack.
Be kind to your barista - being a barista has to be one of the most thankless jobs going, doesn’t it? Dealing with that long line of grumpy office workers before they’ve had their daily dose of caffeine must be fairly stressful. Make an effort to smile brightly and ask your server how their day is going; they’re bound to appreciate it.
Donate - take a box of old things to a charity shop or donate food to a food bank. This is a great one to do with children, as it allows us the chance to talk about those less fortunate than us who will appreciate the items we no longer need.
Buy coffee for a homeless person - there are sadly so many homeless people on our streets these days, and they can often feel invisible as we rush past them on our way to or from work. At best they might have a few coins hastily shoved at them, but how many people actually stop and acknowledge their existence? Take a moment to buy a hot drink for a homeless person and ask them how they are; you might just be the only person they speak to today.
Send a gift - think of a friend or family member you really appreciate, and send them something you know they wouldn’t ordinarily buy for themselves. That might be a new book, one of our scented candles or even a bunch of flowers. You can order most things via the internet these days, and they will be so touched when an unexpected gift arrives at their home.
Ask someone how they are, and listen to their response - so often when we have conversations we’re waiting for our chance to speak, rather than actually listening to what they’re saying. Make a point of focusing on what the other person is saying, and asking questions to show you’ve heard what they had to say. Whether they’re moaning about their boss or proudly telling you of their daughter’s latest gymnastic achievements they will really appreciate your listening.
Let someone overhear you singing their praises - whether it’s your child, a co-worker or a friend, when they hear you telling someone about something good they’ve done or how proud you are of them, they’ll feel amazing.
Help someone who is struggling - whether it’s a mum struggling to get her children, pushchair and shopping into the car or an elderly person carrying their shopping, offer to help. They might refuse, but even if they do they will be touched by the fact you offered.
Why not use this as an opportunity to brighten someone’s day? Don’t forget to share your Random Act of Kindness with us on social media; we can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.