World Kindness Day is observed internationally on November 13th. It was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of non-government organisations around the world, including Australia. The purpose of World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community, focusing on the positive power and common thread of kindness that unites us all.
The Australian Kindness Movement (AKM) was formed to help overcome what they conclude is an ongoing drift towards a cold and impersonal society. The AKM’s goal is to generate a greater sense of friendliness in the community through the medium of simple acts of kindness. They believe, that when this is achieved, people will experience higher levels of caring and safety within the community.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. It is thought to improve our quality of life and through its actions, bring people together. The positive impact of kindness on our mental health and wellbeing is well documented. It can boost our own immune system, slow down aging, elevate our self-esteem and improve blood pressure. When we are kind, it triggers a number of beneficial physical and psychological responses – the “feel good” sensation that has now been officially titled the “helpers high”. The body releases chemicals – dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins; four primary chemicals that drive positive emotions. It is therefore true that “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” (Aesop). A simple act of kindness is not only beneficial to the ‘receiver’, it also has a profound impact on the ‘giver’ as well.
Showing kindness in our everyday lives is not hard. It can be as simple as:
- Holding the door open for someone;
- Giving someone a compliment;
- Apologising when necessary;
- Saying thank you and meaning it;
- Acknowledging someone;
- Running an errand for someone;
- Letting someone know you are thinking about them; and
- Doing something for someone without them asking.
Random acts of kindness do not need to be big and they do not need to cost a cent. They just need to be from the heart. Authentic kindness is a personal decision and is one of many factors that defines who we are. It should be easy for us to remember – FRIENDLY, GENEROUS and CONSIDERATE. Qualities we should demonstrate daily and instil in our children from a young age. Kindness is a behaviour that we should all practice. Kindness helps us to become happier people and compassionate towards others.
When I began writing this blog, I was in two minds about the observance of World Kindness Day. My reservations stemmed from pure disappointment that we need an assigned day to celebrate and promote kindness; that kindness is not an inherent requirement of being a member of a community, and a behaviour or value that is not always recognised. BUT…. I am no longer in two minds and I support a day of celebration; if it means we all take a moment to reflect on our own behaviours and how we bring value to our lives and the lives of those in our communities. Kindness is contagious; experiencing an act of kindness can improve our mood, it can make our day and it can increase the likelihood of spreading that kindness to others.
World Kindness Day actually resonates well with us at SereneCare because we believe the value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves, but instead by what we do for others. Through our values – trust, respect, commitment, loyalty and collaboration we actively build supportive relationships with our customers and staff, making them feel safe and cared for. We treat each other with courtesy, dignity and compassion and we value the relationships we have with each other. We are…. FRIENDLY, GENEROUS and CONSIDERATE and we believe, together we can all live a full, dignified and serene life.
So, on World Kindness Day 2019, I encourage you to be conscious of your behaviour and perform a random act of kindness. Smile at someone just because, help your elderly neighbour with their bins or let the person in line behind you go ahead of you. If small acts like these are all it takes to enhance someone’s feeling of care and safety, then why aren’t we doing it every single day?