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

The science on kindness.

By: Emma Lunsford

Something as simple as holding a door open, smiling at a stranger, or lending a helping hand (when we’re not asked) has a profound effect. Why you ask? Because of kindness. Acts of kindness are free, simple, and make a world of difference — for both the giver and receiver! And, it’s safe to say, we could ALL use a little extra kindness in our lives. 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 23% 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 and increased overall health, just from being kind? Count us in! Let’s dive deeper though.   

Kindness is also associated with higher levels of dopamine and serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical messengers responsible for mood regulation, mental health, and well-being. 

Lastly, we’ve all seen that contagious, pay-it-forward ripple effect of kindness — the best kind of contagious! Keep reading and learn how to catch the kind fever, just in time for World Kindness Day.

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 

According to research, altruistic people are happier overall. What goes around comes around, right!? 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 acts of kindness ideas:

  • Notice a parking meter about to expire? Prevent a ticket by maxing out the time clock!
  • Help someone load or 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 or the homeless outside on a cold day
  • Call a friend or family member just because 
  • Offer to babysit for a new parent or friend that needs a break
  • Ask your coworkers how they’re really doing

#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. Here are a few ideas!

  • Volunteer at a dog shelter
  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Donate to a charity
  • Purchase or donate Christmas gifts to children in need
  • Clean out your space and donate anything you’re not using. Food, clothes, toys, furniture… It all makes a difference!

#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… caring for others is good for the heart (literally)! 

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. 

Here are some tips:

  • Ask questions! It shows you care to know more and are actively listening 
  • Wait until someone is finished speaking before you respond 
  • Pay attention to your non-verbal cues. Are you making eye contact, or are you looking at your phone? Are you dazing off, or nodding your head in agreement?

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! Not to mention, positive self-talk and self-kindness can boost confidence, positivity, and productivity.

So, 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! 

For World Kindness Day, celebrate with this mood-boosting chocolate cookie dough smoothie. 

Want more delicious healthy eating recipes? Treat yourself and upgrade to FitOn PRO for access to personalized meal plans and recipes, including foods you’ll love to eat. 

#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. If you haven’t joined our FitOn community yet, sign up for free and get access to unlimited free workouts and meditations that will make it easy to fit exercise into your self-care routine! 

#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. 

Some other ideas:

  • Repeat positive affirmations
  • Let go of what others think and stop comparing yourself to others
  • Set healthy boundaries and reflect on what drains you vs energizes you
  • Take a break and carve time out for you

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!