08 Feb Why acts of kindness are catching
Last week I was in my local supermarket when I saw an elderly lady looking quizzically at one of the shelves. I asked if she needed any help and when she said she couldn’t see the soup she wanted I found it for her. She was so grateful and as I walked away I felt a warm happy tingle for my little act of kindness.
A few minutes later I arrived at the checkout just as a woman with the biggest trolley-load of shopping I’d ever seen was about to go in front of me. She saw my basket of half a dozen things and motioned for me to go first. I thanked her and we both smiled. While we were queuing the woman dropped her purse on the floor – which the man behind her quickly picked up and handed to her, with a big smile on his face.
I’d never seen so many happy, smiling faces in my supermarket before. And it was all caused by a Mexican wave of kindness!
I love it when that happens. You do something kind, considerate or thoughtful for someone and then they pay it forward and do something lovely for someone else. Kindness is catching, and when you’ve been the recipient of kindness you can’t wait to pass it on.
Being kind and being recognised for it – even if it’s just a simple ‘thank you’ – releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centres. This means we get a rush of these ‘feel-good’ endorphins into the body, which makes you want to do it again… and again… and again. And every time you’re kind to someone it leaves them feeling happier and more likely to pass on this wave of kindness as well. It’s a win-win situation.
Leading a more fulfilling life
Being kind is good for us. Studies show that being compassionate helps us to lead more fulfilling lives and relationships, can stop us feeling stressed and may even help us to live longer. It’s great for us as individuals, but just imagine how powerful kindness can be within our local community and in the wider world?
Next time you have the opportunity to be kind, why not hold the door open for someone, surprise a friend with a bunch of flowers or randomly buy a complete stranger a coffee (it could be you!). Let me know what acts of kindness you do for others…and who knows just how far around the world the effects of these waves of kindness may be felt!