World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13th. On this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organizations. World Kindness Day was first launched in 1998 by The World Kindness Movement, an organization formed at a 1997 Tokyo conference of like-minded kindness organizations from around the world. There are currently over 28 nations involved in The World Kindness Movement, which is not affiliated, with any religion or political movement. The mission of the World Kindness Movement and World Kindness Day is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness. Our everyday society is mostly riddled with stress, depression, fast paced living, competition and bullying and as a result many people are unhappy and have developed mental health disorders. Although kindness in itself cannot cure mental health disorders, practicing kindness on a daily basis towards ourselves and towards others can be a step in the right direction. A smile, holding the door open for another, bringing food to someone, paying for the person in line behind you, connecting with a stranger and saying ‘I love you’ to someone close are all acts of kindness that can be practiced on a regular basis. So often we hold back from being kind because we don’t know what to do or we don’t think our actions will make an impact, but they do and the research proves this. Science shows that some of the benefits of kindness are:
- Improved immune system functioning
- Decreased stress levels
- Feelings of meaning and purpose
- A sense of connectedness
Call someone you have not spoken with in awhile
We live in such a busy society that our primary communication has resorted to texts, emails and social media. Hearing a voice on the other line can strengthen your relationship with that person. This could involve a conversation with a neighbor who lived in an area you moved away from, a childhood friend who you’re primarily “in touch” with only through social media updates, or your grandmother, who lives hours away. It is easier to feel and express emotions through phone conversations and you may share a deeper connection with this person than you would through text or email.
Engage in a simple daily gesture to help someone else
Whether it is taking out the trash for you significant other, refilling the coffee at work, running an errand for your parent or completing the grocery shopping for a week, simple acts of kindness can go a very long ways.
Donate your time, money or skillset
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and it can also give you a sense of fulfillment. Whether you choose to donate money to an animal shelter, pick up trash at a local beach or volunteer at a homeless shelter; donating your time, money and skillset can better your community and set an example for others around you.
Be kind to yourself
Self-care is an act of kindness that often goes unnoticed and is forgotten. Spend time investing in yourself whether it is reading a book, taking a bath, buying a new outfit or spending time engaging in you favorite hobby. If you are not fulfilled or happy then others around you will notice and the negative energy be transferred onto them.
We all make mistakes, pick fights and say hurtful words to others but we all have the chance to make amends and ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness can be a way to start over, put hurtful feelings behind us and move on. We also have the power to grant other forgiveness, even if they do not apologize. When we forgive others, we let go of any negative or hostile feelings that we are harboring.