If you're superstitious then you might be somewhat relieved to hear that Friday 13th November 2020 is also World Kindness Day. First introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement (a coalition of nations’ kindness non-governmental organisations), the objective of World Kindness Day is to celebrate and encourage kindness, to appreciate the value of kindness, and to increase the number of kind acts that take place. This could involve donating time or money to a charity, helping someone in need, or simply telling a friend or loved one that you appreciate them.
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate; but why is it so important? Positivity and kindness have also been shown to trigger upward spirals of improvement, as well as generating better social interactions and relationships with those around you (Vasilko and Stewart, 2020). According to psychologists John and Julie Gottman, kindness is the most important ingredient in building a healthy and lasting marriage. In addition to helping someone else, you may well find that you are helping yourself; studies have shown that acts of kindness can improve wellbeing (Hui et al., 2020) and even reduce depression (Mongrain et al., 2018).
At RubyDuke, we have been so fortunate to work with some incredible organisations where kindness, compassion and a desire to support others is at the heart of what they do. Thames Hospice is an incredible organisation that we have been lucky enough to work with; the level of care they offer to patients, carers and their families is truly humbling. The Brett Foundation is another wonderful charity we're proud to partner with. They offer support to anyone who might need it - in particular those who are homeless, elderly or lonely; families living in poverty; and those who have fallen on hard times. The way in which these organisations operate, with such a deep level of kindness, is absolutely awe-inspiring.
There are so many different ways to be kind, and there’s something to suit everyone, regardless of time commitments or budget. Whilst being kind to others is what World Kindness Day is all about, we all need to be kind to ourselves too, especially with lockdown 2.0 taking its toll. Instead of seeing it as a trait that you may have been born with or without, think of kindness as a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it will get!
Whether it’s to yourself, a colleague, or a friend, here are 11 ideas for random acts of kindness:
· Make a donation
· Volunteer your time
· Send them something in the post, from letterbox flowers to brownies!
· Pay someone a compliment
· Check in with a co-worker; they may be having a harder time than you realise
· Send a positive email around, with feel-good news stories or inspirational quotes
· Plant a tree
· Go litter picking (whilst following government regulations)
· Write down five things you’re grateful for
· Treat yourself to something, whether it’s a book you’ve been meaning to read or your favourite chocolate bar
· Watch or read something to make you laugh
Here at RubyDuke, we believe it’s cool to be kind. Let us know what you or your loved ones have done today to be kind - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hui, B. P. H. et al. (2020) Rewards of kindness? A meta-analysis of the link between prosociality and well-being. Psychological Bulletin. DOI: 10.1037/bul0000298
Mongrain, M. et al. (2018) Acts of kindness reduce depression in individuals low on agreeableness. Translational Issues in Psychological Science. 4(3):323–334.
Vasilko, K. M. and Stewart, J. T. (2020) The Power of Kindness and Positivity in the College Environment. Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement 7(1):17. DOI: 10.5703/1288284317242