Making Kindness the Norm

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February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Random Acts of Kindness Day originated in New Zealand in 2004.

The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the global need for kindness. This unique holiday encourages us to practice kindness in random ways with friends, family, strangers and animals.

The Foundation’s mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. This is the Foundation’s Random Acts of Kindness Week with the theme of Making Kindness the Norm.

I love the emphasis on kindness, defined as expressing friendliness, generosity and consideration. And I appreciate that practicing kindness is not limited to one day out of the year. Consider making kindness the norm every day, with these tips.

Making Kindness the Norm title meme

Kindness Provides Health Benefits

This morning I followed curiosity down an interesting trail. Aware of Random Acts of Kindness Day, I wondered if expressing kindness towards others offers any health benefits to the giver. It does!

Kindness and empathy help us to relate better to others and develop positive connections with family, friends, animals and even total strangers that we encounter. Beyond improving relationships, kindness can make us healthier in these ways:

  • releases the “feel good” hormone serotonin
  • eases anxiety and boosts self esteem
  • releases the hormone oxytocin, which benefits heart health by lowering blood pressure
  • reduces stress by helping us get outside our own lives while we focus on others
  • produces oxytocin which also lowers inflammation in the body, a condition linked to disease
  • prolongs life by helping to strengthen relationships, which in turn supports heart health and positively raises mental outlook

We don’t practice kindness to create better health. We practice kindness to better the lives of others, in small and large ways. The health benefits are a wonderful “perk”! Energetically, what you put out into the world flows back to you. Kindness does good and produces good in the body.

Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm Now
Making Kindness the Norm…Now

Making Kindness the Norm

Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website  for lots of activities that promote kindness. They offer a fun challenge that promotes kindness as the norm at home and in communities. The challenge involves completing a series of kindness activities to fill in 60 hearts. Activities are worth one, two or three hearts, depending on how challenging they are.

Activities include random acts of kindness, writing prompts, self care and even coloring pages.

“Imagine a world where we can succeed by being nice, where we all look out for each other, where we pay it forward and where kindness is the norm.”  Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Additionally, the site offers classroom activities, quotes, posters, inspiration and an extremely cool 2020 Kindness Calendar with a suggested act of kindness for every day of the year. I absolutely LOVE that. All these resources are free and downloadable.

Leaving Encouraging Notes
Making Kindness the Norm – leaving encouraging notes
Be Kind
Be Kind

Ways to Practice Kindness

On this day, on every day, these are simple ways for making kindness the norm:

  • volunteer at a animal shelter, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a school
  • ties scarves around trees in cold weather and tuck gloves into hats and place on benches
  • donate your time, your money, your wisdom
  • walk the neighbor’s dog
  • babysit for free for a single mom or dad
  • carpool to work
  • smile at everyone
  • high five a stranger
  • shop for a shut in
  • call your grandparents
  • clean house for an older family member
  • send an encouraging text
  • mail a card to brighten someone’s day
  • give out hugs
  • in a drive through pay for the person behind you
  • leave change in a laundry mat or taped to a vending machine
  • hide encouraging notes in random places
  • allow a car to cut in front of you in traffic
  • run errands for someone who is ill
  • invite a lonely person out for tea or coffee
  • give groceries to a shelter pantry
  • donate clothing to a community closet
  • give garden produce away
  • pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods
  • use less plastic
  • compliment a stranger
  • visit a nursing home
  • write reviews for local businesses, organizations you care about, products you love
  • practice cyberkindness to counteract cyberbullying
  • BE KIND to EVERY KIND
Making Kindness the Norm Helping Children
Making Kindness the Norm – helping children
Kindness is Love
Kindness is Love

Be Kind

Scott Adams said,

Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Let’s create ripples that circle the globe, on this day, during this week and throughout the year. Join me in making kindness the norm, every day.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Check out these related posts:  Random Acts of Kindness Week 2018

Kindness is Contagious – Pass it On from 2017

Kindness Find on Amazon:

 


 

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Post a Positive Note Somewhere

Today was Day Two in Random Acts of Kindness Week. The challenge issued for Monday, from the randomactsof.us app, was to post positive notes around my city. My grandson Dayan and I did a similar activity in 2014, writing encouraging notes and placing them on the windshields of random cars parked in a large mall parking lot. Both of us pushed beyong the edges of our comfort zones to carry out that mission, and had a blast. 

I was excited to carry out this activity today, leaving notes in easily accessible locations around Joplin. 

Post a Positive Note Somewhere
Post a Positive Note Somewhere
I used small cream papers and brightly colored pens to create positive notes. Some of my favorites quotes came to mind, inspiring words that I turn to often, and I went with those. 

In a few minutes, I had not one but six notes with positive messages on them, including this one from my favorite author, JRR Tolkien:

Not all who wander are lost. 

I didn’t question the appropriateness of the quote. If it popped into my head, I used it. Part of the fun, and trust, of doing random acts is not knowing the outcome. I don’t know who found the notes or what impact the quotes had on their lives. I don’t need to know. Not knowing the finder’s life circumstances means I let go of what I perceive might happen and let the Divine do the guiding. 

Post a Positive Note Somewhere
This was a fun mission. I didn’t get all of the notes placed today. I’ll finish that task tomorrow, along with carrying out a new activity. 

What happened, though, as I moved through my day, was that my awareness of being kind was heightened. I noticed people. I smiled at and chatted with more strangers. I said “yes” more, gave a donation to Children’s Miracle Network when asked to at the convenience store, helped people from a place of joy and lightness. 

I was more kind today, as I tucked my little notes around town. And that is what Random Acts of Kindness Week is all about. 

Post a Positive Note Somewhere

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On

I love that the moment I woke up this morning, and asked How shall we play today?, an answer was given. I was reminded that today is the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness Week. I had not consciously recalled that fact until I asked the question. 

I first discovered this week long event in 2014, during my Year of Firsts. It has been my practice since, and my joy and privilege, to participate each year. 

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On
What I did differently this year was that I registered on the Random Acts of Kindness website. They have an interactive site with daily challenges and stories and a way to track my actions, for my own benefit. 

I was delighted to see that one of the challenges was to practice self kindness. What a great way to kick off the week. Sunday is normally my self care day. And in the same way that loving myself overflows into loving others, being kind to myself naturally flows into kindness toward another. 

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On
I prepared my simple morning meal…warm lemon water and a fruit smoothie…and had breakfast in bed. Gathering colored pencils and my altered book, I further practiced self kindness by creating another page in my art journal, all from the comfort of my cozy bed, with brilliant sunshine streaming in through the windows. Bliss. Tenderness. Creativity. Kindness. And I was prepared for a week of conscious kindness. 

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It OnToday’s challenge during Random Acts of Kindness Week. 

I am excited to participate in this week of random kindness. Not all of it will be geared toward strangers. Kindness is appropriate to offer to everyone, including friends and family and animals. However, it is fun to do something kind for someone I don’t know, and remain anonymous in the act. 

It is not a coincidence that Valentine’s Day is celebrated during this week as well. For many people, this is a difficult holiday. Rather than focusing on the lack of a romantic relationship, or a relationship that disappoints or is complicated or is less than desired, how amazing if more people focused on showing kindness, and love, toward others. 

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On
Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On
During this chaotic time, in our country and in the world, what if there was less talk and more action? Less divisiveness and more unity? Less hostility and more kindness? Doing acts of kindness without taking credit for it bypasses the ego and lets the heart take the lead. There is no need to keep score, for these genuine acts are not done for the sake of reciprocity, but done to send positive, loving energy out into the world. 

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. 

What a perfect way to make life a little more tender. Won’t you join me this week, in being kind?

www.randomactsof.us

Kindness is Contagious-Pass It On