“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Kindness is defined, as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. It is virtue inherent to human beings. However, amidst our hectic days and tight schedules, we often forget to be kind. Self-interest takes precedence, resulting in diversion and disagreement between people.
While kindness should be a norm, it is an exception in today's world. However, 13th November is celebrated as the World Kindness Day across the globe. The objective of this day is to look beyond ourselves; beyond the boundaries that we create to achieve peaceful coexistence among the various sections of the society and foster a positive environment. It also encourages people to use kindness over hatred.
It was introduced by the World Kindness Movement in 1988. This organisation was formed at a Tokyo conference of like-minded kindness organizations in 1997. At the moment there are 28 countries which observe the world kindness day, including Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Japan and India, each having its way of celebrating the day. For example, UK distributes 10,000 free chocolate bars in the London train stations, USA organizes flashmobs and cultural performances, while Singapore distributes yellow flowers to strangers.
Kindness not only boosts mood but also reduces stress. Research suggests that being kind increases the feelings of happiness, well-being and life satisfaction across all ages, regardless of whether the act of kindness is towards others, the society at large or even ourselves (Rowland et al, 2019). Such acts of kindness can be both big and small, random or planned. Cotney and Banerjee (2019) found a wide range of behaviours that are considered to be kind, including providing emotional or practical support to others. Social inclusion, complimenting, honesty, generosity, helping behaviour and expressing forgiveness to others.
Being kind does not always involve extravagant efforts. Sometimes even small acts of kindness make a significant difference. Here are a few simple ideas and ways to be kind:
- Write a positive note or message on someones Facebook profile or send them a mail/text
- Call and check up on a relative or a friend you have lost touch with
- Tidy up your house- begin from your room
- Pick up trash that you see on the ground and throw it in the bin
- Compliment a stranger
- Tell someone you love and value them
- Help your mother with daily chores
- Plant a tree
In an era of massive competition, kindness acts as a breeze of fresh air, binding people together. It inspires people to be kind, thereby creating a virtuous circle. So this World Kindness day indulge in random acts of kindness towards yourself as well as others.
Cotney, J. L., & Banerjee, R. (2019). Adolescents’ conceptualizations of kindness and its links with well-being: A focus group study. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(2), 599-617.
Rowland, L., & Curry, O. S. (2019). A range of kindness activities boost happiness. The Journal of social psychology, 159(3), 340-343.