Health

Kindness & Your Health + 10 Ways to Celebrate World Kindness Day

The science on kindness.

By: Emma Lunsford

One thing’s for sure: we could all use a little more kindness in our lives. Especially with this past year, everyone’s feeling more stressed and down than usual. Thankfully, we have World Kindness Day on November 13th to remind us to kick our well-being up a notch. (Yes, kindness and health are connected!)

Did You Know That Kindness Actually Makes us Healthier?

Obviously, kindness can make someone’s day, which, in turn, helps us feel better. But it actually goes deeper than that. In fact, research has found that people who constantly use kindness produce less of the stress hormone, cortisol. And since stress speeds up the aging process, kindness is linked to aging slower than the average population. 

Low-stress levels for high health! Let’s dive deeper tho.   

Kindness is also associated with higher levels of dopamine, known as the “feel-good” chemical. It leads to those fuzzy, emotional warmth feels that contributes to a healthier, happier heart.

Uhm, woah! 

Lastly, we’ve all seen that contagious, pay-it-forward ripple effect of kindness — the best kind of contagious!

10 Ways to Celebrate World Kindness Day

Kindness isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of deal. There are so many ways to integrate it into your daily life — not just on World Kindness Day. But here are 10 ideas to start!  

Be Kind to Others 

What goes around comes around. When you lift other people up, you fill up your own cup in the process. It’s like magic! Here are five simple ways to be kind to others. 

#1 Random Acts of Kindness 

This is one of the easiest (and most common) ways for people to apply kindness. And when others aren’t expecting it? Makes it all the more powerful. 

Random kindness ideas:

  • Fill parking meters
  • Help someone unload their groceries
  • Buy a coffee for the person behind you
  • Leave change in the vending machine for the next person to find
  • Let a vehicle go in front of you in traffic
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Hide a surprise note for someone you love
  • Talk to a shy person at an event
  • Leave a generous tip
  • Give hot chocolate to workers outside on a cold day

#2 Get Involved In Charities/ Volunteer

Give back to your community! Getting involved in charities can be so rewarding because it amps up social effort for things that matter, like social injustices, homelessness, and food shortages.

A few ideas!

  • Volunteer at a dog shelter
  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Donate to a charity
  • Give Christmas gifts to children in need

#3 Give Hugs

Permission-permitting, of course, but hugging someone for 20 seconds or more has shown to increase the love hormone, oxytocin and reduce blood pressure and stress levels. So, hug your kiddos, hug your spouse, or even your pets. 

You know that saying…hug more, worry less! Well, it’s true. 

#4 Simply Smile

If you’re genuinely feeling happy, simply smiling at someone as they walk down the street can be an act of kindness. You never know what someone is going through on a personal level, which is why even minimal positive interactions can make a world of difference. 

#5 Be a Good Listener

Everybody wants to be heard and understood. So when someone vents their problems to you, it might not be helpful to immediately list solutions. Instead, just listen and validate their feelings. It’s simple but an extremely effective way of showing kindness. 

Be Kind to Yourself Today (and always!) 

To be kind to others, you have to know how to be kind to yourself first. Otherwise, you might not have enough energy to focus on other people. We’ve all been in those situations where you’re so stressed that you can’t think about anything else but your problems! Use these ideas to fill up your own cup. 

#6 Self-Care

This is the most obvious way to show kindness to yourself, but for good reason! A self-care routine is a wonderful way to relieve stress and promote calm. 

Self-care recommendations: take an Epsom salt bath, journal your feelings, read a book, step away from social media, take a nap, do something crafty, watch a funny movie, declutter your room, etc. 

#7 Eating Healthy 

Why eat healthy on World Kindness Day? Because it’s a form of self-care, a way to show compassion to your body. Your body craves nutrients, after all! 

Some healthy recipe ideas!

#8 Exercise 

Another great kindness approach: physical activity. Working out has so many amazing benefits, like boosting your mood and energy, as well as strengthening your muscles and bones.

Go-to workouts:

#9 Body Positivity

You know the best way to show yourself kindness? Use self-compassion in everything you do. This means appreciating our bodies for all it gives us vs. beating up on ourselves. Way easier said than done, but the better you get at showing yourself unconditional love, the better you’ll feel. 

#10 Write a Love Letter to Yourself

So how do you amp up your positive self-talk? One way is to write a love letter to yourself, listing all the things you appreciate about your mind and body. If you’re not used to this kind of self-love, it might feel weird at first. That’s okay! Keep practicing, and it gets easier. 

Celebrate World Kindness Day Your Way

Ready to celebrate World Kindness Day? With the above tips, you can observe this day however you’d like, whether it’s showing love to yourself or others. 

Cheers to more world kindness!