Kindness. We hear this word all the time. Spreading kindness. Showing kindness. Being kind. Still, what exactly does kindness mean? The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate—something our world definitely needs more of. Being kind to others is not just a beautiful quality to have, it also has many other benefits too.

The Health Benefits of Being Kind

Many health benefits come with being kind. Things like:

Kindness releases feel-good hormones.  When you do something nice for someone, it boosts the serotonin in your brain, which causes you to feel good too.
•Kindness eases anxiety. Doing an act of kindness for someone is probably the most inexpensive way to alleviate anxiety. People with anxiety have experiences of low positive affect, which hinders psychological well being and adaptive functioning. By doing something nice for someone, the positive effect level is raised.
Kindness is good for the heart.  Doing a random act of kindness raises oxytocin and lowers blood pressure as well as affecting the chemical balance of your heart.
•Kindness helps you live longer.  The larger the circle of friends you have and the more acts of kindness you can do, the better.
•Kindness prevents illness. Inflammation in the body can cause all kinds of health problems and diseases. However, as mentioned before, doing something kind for someone raises the oxytocin in your brain, producing lower levels of inflammation. It doesn’t matter how big or small your “act of kindness” is.

Why Should We Be Kind?

Our world can be a cold and uncaring place. On our worst days, it can be so easy to think, “Why should I be kind to anyone when the world is being so awful to me?” There are a million reasons to be kind. Things like:

•It’s good for our health.
•Doing a good deed for someone else makes both participants feel good for hours afterward.
•We set a good example for our children.
•You can brighten someone’s day with just a smile.
•You can change a heart and possibly save a life. For example, I have friends who suffer from depression, anxiety, and mental health issues. I always aim to give them an encouraging word, but especially when they are really down. One of my friends has said, “I always find just the right words.” That means the world to me.
•You can make someone’s day with your actions.
•You can give someone hope.
•You can restore someone’s faith in humanity.

Who Can I Spread Kindness To?

There are lots of people in our everyday lives who would love a pick me up from time to time.

•Your child’s teacher
•The mailman or lady.
•Your Hairdresser.
•Your nail technician.
•The cashier at the grocery store.
•The cart collector at the grocery store.
•The waiter/waitress at your favorite restaurant.
•The cashier at the fast food restaurant (both eat in and drive-thru).
•Your husband’s barber.
•Your pastor, rabbi, or priest.
•Your child’s bus driver.
•Daycare teachers.
•Your boss. (Believe it or not.)
•The stock person at the grocery store.
•The employees in each department (deli, bakery, meat, seafood) of the grocery store.
•The valet who may park your car.
•Housekeeping at the hotel you are staying at.
•Your housekeeper.
•Your veterinarian.
•Your elderly neighbor next door or the single Mom who lives across the street.

Small Ways to Spread Kindness

Donate some books to your child’s classroom.
•Thank your mail carrier for their service.
•Buy an extra bottle of nail polish from your nail tech.
Thank your cashier for doing their job.
•Compliment the stocker at your local grocery store.
•Donate the gently used toys that your child doesn’t play with anymore to your daycare.
•Leave a substantial tip for your waiter, waitress, valet or housekeeping at the hotel you are staying at.
•Invite your elderly neighbor over for dinner or take them dinner. Take the time to get to know them and spend time with them.
•Give the single Mom across the street a gift card for groceries or something fun she can do with her kids like going to a movie or going out to dinner or going to an indoor play area.

There are many people in our lives that we can spread kindness to and make an impact on. What is kindness? Kindness makes our world go ‘round.