Saturday, 7 September 2013
Simple Acts of Kindness
I have the most delightful neighbour in the world. I live in a unit shared with three others and each week my neighbour puts my bin out for me. Without fail it stops me in my tracks as I rush out in my pyjamas near midnight to push them to the curb and it's already done. I breathe a sigh of pleasure and return to my cosy home.
Every time she does it I thank her and promise to return the favour but never get the chance to. It is really a very simple thing she does but at those moments it means the world to me. Rather like letting someone into traffic it is nice for someone else and makes you feel good for having shown some kindness.
In our fast paced and ever increasingly demanding lives it is too easy to only think of ourselves and to put our own priorities over others yet, in reality everyone is juggling just as much as another and so these little considerations can make a big difference in any one persons day.
My workplace consists of well over 100 people, here many staff will bring in lemons from their trees for anyone who wants them, herbs they have grown in their own gardens. One thoughtful person even photocopies a recipe with the herbs for those who need a suggestion as well.
I know someone who pop spare change into near expired parking meters to save someone who is probably rushing back to their car.
There are so many little things we can do to improve a persons mood and the chart of their day, things that cost us nothing and have no bigger impact than making someone see good and maybe smile.
Of course, you can go much bigger in your generosity. Baking for your co-workers morning tea is so rewarding. Everyone commenting on your lovely cake is magnificent. Spending a day working for a charity feeds your soul, I have worked in food kitchens feeding homeless people and distributed books to the homeless. One of the greatest moments in my life was watching a young homeless woman help an elderly homeless man select books and the two of them engaging in a conversation about books and reading.
Scientists have studied the psychology behind giving and have measured the endorphin release associated with donating to charity and doing charity work. The brain releases these pleasure chemicals to positively reinforce the activity; a neurobiological way to ensure humanity is humane!
When your own brain can reward you in one of most powerful ways for doing something kind for others, why wouldn't you?