Grandmama Zen: acts of kindness have side effects
Acts of anonymous kindness inspire a chain effect
Friends on Facebook share a trend that made their day.
JB:Thank You to the car in front of me who bought my Coffee and Breakfast Sandwich this morning! I continued your kind gesture❤
JWZ I was comped the other day and passed it on as well! It's the feeling you get, the gratitude, that matters most!
DSM someone did that for me for my diet coke this am!
SED That is always a nice thing for someone to do
SS Someone did that for me last week at Starbucks
HW I love when that happens!
MEK Were you at the starbucks at Lincoln and Parker? that has happened to me twice there! I paid it forward as well!
JB Yes I was MEK!! Next time I will I initiate it! Such a small gesture, such a huge reward
MEK I initiated it once because it happened to me twice. I wonder if sometimes the barrista's start it just to see how far it will go down the line. I've heard so many people say they got it there free and have paid it forward. And usually at this time of year or christmas. It is a happy surprise!
Storytellers R Us Sweet!
A small change in one place may effect great change elsewhere
People who feel loved don't come home and kick a terriorist.
What is it about random acts of anonymous kindness that raise us to near giddy heights?
A cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich total about $10, depending on which coffee and which sandwich. Yet the chain of spirits raised to a higher vibration cannot be quantified.
Imagine the energy these thrilled folk brought to their day! Their sense of gratitude impacted not only the recipient but the giver. It gifted each with a sense of value.
Human beings want to feel we matter. We crave feeling loved.
"Feeling loved is different from being loved. When you feel loved, it makes you feel whole, accepted, and supported by another person, be they a spouse, lover, friend, family member, or work colleague. You get the sense of being valued and emotionally fulfilled, that someone gets you." -- HelpGuide.org
Kindness inspires a butterfly effect
Did you know practicing kindness has healthy side effects?
David R. Hamilton, Ph.D. has studied the effects of kindness and has come to the conclusion that, like drugs, kindness has side effects. However, the side effects of kindness are all positive:
- Helping others raises the endogenous opioids in our brains and puts us on a natural high.
- Acts of kindness make us feel emotionally warm, which raises the level of our oxytocin hormone which lowers blood pressure and protects the heart.
- Oxytocin also lowers the levels of free radicals and inflammation in the body, thus slowing the aging process.
- The vagus nerve regulates the heart beat as well as controls inflammation. Compassionate action has been positively linked to actions of the vagus nerve.
- Relationships are improved when we cut the emotional distance between us via acts of kindness.
- As with the Starbucks Coffee incident above, acts of kindness inspire a ripple effect, with often astonishing results.
Kind acts are universal
It needn't be a huge gesture. Good Housekeeping lists 50 possibilities including the following:
- Leave a bouquet at the hospital — the nurses will know who needs it the most.
- Make a struggling family's summer by buying them a season pass to the municipal pool. If you are in a long line, invite the person behind you to go first.
- Drop off combs, toothbrushes, and toothpaste at a shelter or a soup kitchen.
- Curb road rage: Let other cars merge onto the highway.
- Help out a mom and a baby by donating diapers (find a directory of diaper banks at diaperbanknetwork.org).
- Send a thank-you note to the brave officers at your local police station.
- Ask the grocery clerk to apply your unused coupons to another customer's items.
- Arrange to pay anonymously for a soldier's breakfast when you see him or her dining alone.
- Slip a $20 gas card or public-transportation pass into someone's shopping bag.
- You don't have to send every disadvantaged child to college, but you can buy one of them a life-changing book: Try booksforkids.org.
YouTube videos show myriads of folk stopping to help someone across the street, rescue a wandering child, save someone's life after they've fallen in the way of a moving vehicle.
But sometimes, all it takes is a free Starbucks to make someone's day.
The ripple effect cannot be measured.
And oxytocin is good for grandchildren!
"Oxytocin, now dubbed the hormone of love, holds immense sway over the way we feel when we make love, how we give birth, how successful we are at breastfeeding and how we connect to our newborn babies," writes Hannah Dahlen in an article titled, "Oxytocin: the hormone of love and birth".
Perhaps surrounding my darling daughter and and granddaughter with kindness, support and love has more to do with health than I understood.
Perhaps infertility is rooted in its lack? Lots to ponder, as I head to the hospital where my sister in law is recovering from surgery. I finally got hold of her sister in Norway to share the good news that all is well. I guess that was my act for the day. Well that, and delivering a phone charger for her use!
But wait! Serendipity has intervened! ARC just called collecting items for the disabled. I did NOT know they collected old magazines, of which we have truckloads!!! I am so excited, I want to deliver stacks now. Evidently I have something special to look forward to next week! And a task for tomorrow, as I begin the process of boxing them.
Do you make it a practice to commit regular acts of kindness, random or otherwise?
© 2013 Barbara