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Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17, 2020
RAK Week is February 16 to 23, 2020
Here’s the thing about Kindness – it makes people feel good, it’s a totally free pastime and, as the Random Act of Kindness Foundation points out, it’s one of the only things in the world that doubles when you share it.
For more than 20 years, Random Acts of Kindness Week (RAK Week) has focused on bringing people together through acts of kindness.
In 2020, RAK Week starts on February 17th and culminates on the 21st. The week begins on Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day that the RAK Foundation has chosen to focus all its energy on, in an effort to create as much participation as possible.
The fact of the matter is, for any scoffers out there, being kind is actually good for mental and physical health, and not just for the kindness-giver, but also the receiver, and everyone else who witnesses the act of kindness.
What is the Science Behind Acts of Kindness?
Kindness can be learned and is highly contagious. Here is some of the science behind acts of kindness:
- Being generous generates endorphins in the brain, which can ultimately lead to feeling less physical pain
- People who make a point of being kind have lower cortisol levels, the chemical in the body that’s associated with levels of stress
- The emotional satisfaction that comes from being kindhearted with others also produces oxytocin, a hormone that decreases blood pressure
- Seretonin is an additional chemical byproduct of being kind and feeling happy, and its presence leads to fewer episodes of depression
Kindness is Teachable
Another important takeaway is that kindness is teachable.
In 2017, the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, introduced the Kindness Curriculum, which is geared toward preschoolers. Thousands of educators and parents have since taken advantage of the program.
“When you’re unkind to another, it’s usually about ourselves and how we are feeling,” Carin Ellis, an assistant principle at a public school in Queens, N.Y., that uses the curriculum, told the New York Times. “If children can take a moment and just breathe, they can avoid acting out against others.”
This type of education is part of a broader focus on emotional intelligence. Advocates believe that teaching cooperative emotional skills actually improves children’s ability to learn and succeed.
What’s more is that children who learn how to be kind grow into compassionate and caring adults.
Positive Feedback Loop
Perhaps the most magical part of being kind is the cycle it creates. One study on kindness and its outcomes refers to what researchers call a “positive feedback loop,” that being kind creates joy, and the better we feel, the kinder we become.
“The practical implications of this positive feedback loop could be that engaging in one kind deed (e.g., taking your mom to lunch) would make you happier, and the happier you feel, the more likely you are to do another kind act,” said one of the study’s lead authors.
Kindness is something that can and should be practiced every day. It’s true.
But if you haven’t taken the time to actively employ more acts of kindness into your daily life, take a moment to add Random Acts of Kindness Week and Day onto your awareness calendar.
Kindness is a proven pick-me-up.