Be kind to others; it’s good for you and for them


News: You can be kind to others–you really can. It’s something you can control.

So much of life today seems constrained, controlled, surveilled, forced, overshadowed. The world may be going to hell … or seem like it. You may feel at the mercy of overpowering greed, corruption, incompetence, bald-faced lies, misogyny, xenophobia, discrimination, fear-mongering, endless political division, crime, out-of-control weather, social upheaval, a world seemingly turned upside down.

But this–treating others and yourself with kindness and respect … yes, you have control of that. No political machine, no oligarch, no President, no one can stop you.

So, do it. It can be liberating. It can even be a kick in the eye to those who sow fear and distrust. Troll the trolls. Be kind, enjoy it … it can even make your life better and healthier.

“Doing good is, in fact, good for you.” There have been many supporting studies. Kindness of different kinds “have been related to increased life satisfaction, decreased depression, lower blood pressure”, a longer life, and more. These benefits occur whether you do the kindness because you want to or because you have to. The kind behavior can be long-term or very brief (a single day, even a few minutes). It’s the kindness itself, and both the givers and the receivers see the benefits.

So, commit a random act of kindness today. Make someone smile. Say “thank you.” Donate, volunteer, pick up litter, say “hi” to your neighbor, say “good morning” to someone and mean it, be aware of the many good deeds done every day by people who aren’t in the headlines or firing off tweets. Make kindness contagious.

Go to a source: It’s good to do good and receive good: The impact of a “pay it forward” style kindness intervention on giver and receiver well-being (Sarah D. Pressman, et al., The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2015).


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