Amid the challenges of the current COVID pandemic, now more than ever is a time to be kind. This can be done through small acts of kindness such as simply sending a thoughtful note to a faraway friend or helping your parents with chores can make a huge difference in someone’s day.
Meghan Marcum, PsyD, chief psychologist at A Mission for Michael noted that giving back to society is not a purely altruistic concept—we feel better by giving or being kind, therefore the act benefits both parties.
Improving mental health
Research shows that performing acts of kindness has measurable impacts on our mental health by increasing the neurotransmitters in the brain that make us feel satisfied and overall good: serotonin and dopamine. Random acts of kindness toward others can also increase oxytocin, which is another hormone that makes us feel connected to each other and that we can trust each other. These three chemicals, together, can have a profound impact on our mood and overall happiness.
Being kind can help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well. A study in the journal Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science found that people who practiced a kindness mindset had 23% lower cortisol levels than the average person.
Strengthening social ties
Doing something nice for others helps strengthen social ties and the sense that you’re part of a community. These acts can help you feel more connected with others which helps strengthen a sense of belonging and can directly influence loneliness and improve relationships.
This effect is especially important right now, when many people are feeling lonely and isolated during the pandemic. It becomes crucial to foster a sense of connectedness since we are not able to spend time together face-to-face. Thus, performing acts of kindness can be the important bridge to foster this sense of connectedness.
Here are 4 small acts of kindness that you can incorporate into your daily lives:
1. Stop to lend a hand
This act is about keeping your eyes open and finding ways you can help people in your surroundings. Lending a hand can be in many different forms:
Going out of your way to run an errand or take care of a task for family or friends, especially when they are busy.
Asking a mom juggling kids and bags if you can help load her trunk with groceries.
Letting someone in need, such as pregnant ladies, elderly or even someone who is really rushing for time, go in front of you when in queue.
2. Be kind to siblings, family members or friends
Being kind to your family does not have to cost a lot of money or take up large amounts of time. A simple gesture of kindness can be an effective way to connect with each other, even during hectic times. Encourage your family to surprise one another by helping out with day to day tasks. Some of these tasks can include:
Writing each other positive notes is a great way to induce positivity in the household. Simply write post-its and place them on the countertop or refrigerator!
Helping out with your mom when it comes to chores is a very easy way of being kind to your family.
Having a meal together as a family is also one of the best ways of being kind to your family and connecting with each other- of course, with all electronic devices put aside!
3. Set aside time to volunteer
Try putting aside a fixed number of hours every week and give back to the community through the act of volunteering. You can look through our articles on the benefits of volunteering as well as the numerous volunteering opportunities in Singapore. There are a few types of volunteering or giving back:
4. Spread some beauty
It is time to unleash the creative side for some love! Some ways include buying or sending flowers, making a card or picture or creating another craft that someone you know will appreciate–just because. Hand it or send it to them with the message that you are thinking about and that you care about them.
Doing arts and crafts is also another good way to bond in your family. You can sit down with your kids and hand make beautiful art pieces. Here are a couple of options for you to choose from and time for you to get crafty!
Conclusion: Small Acts Of Kindness
From the few ways suggested above, it is evident that it does not cost much to show kindness to others, yet such acts are able to bring about positivity and happiness to them. We hope this article will help you see the benefits in performing acts of kindness to family, friends and even strangers!