In Case You Needed a Reason to be Kind…


Seems it’s Random Acts of Kindness week (starting today, February 17).  And that seems like a nice thing to celebrate, doesn’t it?

I wanted to share a bit of history about the origins of Random Acts of Kindness but the details are murky.  What I can tell you for certain is that a book titled Random Acts of Kindness was published in the early 1990s and became something of a global phenomenon.  (An updated version of this book is still in print.)  The book’s publisher (Conari Press) started the nonprofit Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to support school and community involvement in the nascent kindness movement.  Then in 1997, a conference in Tokyo brought together like-minded kindness organizations from around the world, and the World Kindness Movement was launched in 2000.

Kindness—defined as thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that motivate action intended to generate a benefit for another party—has a number of proven benefits for physical and emotional well-being.  Kindness stimulates the production of oxytocin and serotonin and triggers the reward system in our brain’s emotion regulation center.  It also decreases blood pressure, pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. (You can read more about the benefits of kindness here and here.)

So do yourself a favor—take the opportunity to perform an act of kindness this week.  Need ideas?  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website has an entire page of suggestions, sortable by categories such as kindness to strangers, kindness to animals, and kindness to the environment.

I also just discovered the KARMiC app.  It prompts users to complete a behavior-based good deed every day, helping to make kindness a habit.  (“Behavior-based” means it literally does not have to cost you anything to be kind 😊.) The app serves up inspiration quotes as well as suggestions for daily good deeds (if you don’t like the suggestion you can skip it to view a new one).  Unfortunately it only seems to be available for Apple devices, but you can visit the website to sign up for a monthly newsletter or listen to podcast episodes.

By Cynthia Knapp Dlugosz

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