Among the benefits of kindness is the positive psychological gain that occurs for both the giver and receiver.
When we see someone else help another person, it gives us a good feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something altruistic. Research has shown that generosity and kindness are contagious.
American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Why do generosity and kindness have a positive psychological effect on people? Researchers think that kindness gives people a strong sense that they are doing something that matters.
According to Sonya Lyubomirsky, a Stanford University psychologist, “There are a lot of positive social consequences to being kind: Other people appreciate you, they’re grateful, and they might reciprocate.”
Here are several ideas on how to begin spreading kindness.
• Compliment your server at a restaurant on the good job that he or she did and pass your compliment on to your server’s manager.
• Send someone a handwritten note of thanks, a get-well card or simply a greeting such as “Have a good day and pass it on.”
• Make a gift to a charity, your church or someone in need of help.
• Buy beverages for someone sitting at another table in a restaurant.
• Tell your letter carrier and newspaper delivery person how much you appreciate their service.
• Give up your seat for someone, not just an elderly person.
• Smile a lot.
• Pass on acts of kindness, and it will nurture the mental health of others and yourself.
Hap LeCrone, a Cox News Service columnist, is a clinical psychologist.
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Advocates of Elevated Living