Happiness researcher Shawn Achor says that if you perform random acts of kindness for two minutes a day for twenty-one days, you can actually retrain your brain to be more positive. Studies like his show that when your brain is more positive you are more likely to be creative, intelligent, and productive.
The very act of expressing graciousness also makes us more empathetic to other people’s hardships. As Bob Kerry said, “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent in human change.” It’s easy to forget in times of global chaos how the small things affect people’s lives.
The smallest acts can also transform things on a grand scale; every act of kindness creates a ripple effect. Jamil Zaki, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab, observed how even simply witnessing kindness inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus. He concludes that, “by emphasizing empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways.” Kindness has the power to create drastic change – reducing even the greatest atrocities like suffering at the hands of war, hunger, human rights violations, and injustice.
It can also create change in the workplace. Spreading kindness towards one another can inspire employees to be more productive and even make businesses more profitable.
Sound a bit dramatic? Ridiculous, even? Try this. Put on your kindness goggles for a day and pay close attention to how kindness impacts your life in the course of just one day. Observe when someone does something unexpectedly kind for you, however small. Take note of how it makes you feel and how it changes the way you approach your day, your work, and your own interactions with others. It might surprise you.
And while you’ve got the goggles on anyway why not also start spreading the kindness yourself? Try spending two minutes a day for three weeks doing something simple and kind for someone else and notice how that makes you and others feel.
To help you start a movement of kindness we’ve created an innovative Random Act of Kindness Kit. The kit makes it easy for you, your team, or a loved one to start their own ripple of kindness. Each Kit includes a long list of fun and innovative ways in which the recipient can start a chain reaction of kindness.
And you can start one right now by giving a Kindness Kit to someone as a special, one-of-a-kind gift. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Jesse Weinberg is an entrepreneur living in the Pacific Southwest who loves nothing more than sharing time with his wife and son. He is the founder of GlobalYodel.com, a community that explores the world from the perspective of a local and Global Yodel Media Group, a content/influence marketing agency. He thinks kindness is cool and in 2015 founded Kindness & Co with the mission of starting a movement of kindness though Random Act of Kindness Kits and beyond. He is dedicated to shifting the paradigm of collective human consciousness to revolve towards kindness.