The Kindness Challenge Day 2


random-acts-of-kindness-week-smiling-is-good-for-you-science-of-smiling-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesIt’s Random Acts of Kindness Week, Day 2, and each day I am issuing readers a “Kindness Challenge,” some simple act to spread kindness and cheer to friends and strangers you come across during your day.

Yesterday I challenged readers to smile at one extra person during the day. Did you know that smiling gives you the same (if not better) effect on your brain as eating chocolate, and that the relaxing effect of smiling is similar to getting a good night’s sleep? People who smile more are generally healthier and live longer than people who don’t.

Obviously smiling is good for the one smiling, but what does it do for the person receiving the smile? Studies show seeing someone else smile will most likely lift our mood, and put us in a positive frame of mind toward the other person. Many have theorized smiling triggers a ripple effect of smiles, from one recipient to the next. “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do,” Mother Theresa once said.

Just as smiling has positive health and psychological effects on us, performing acts of kindness are also beneficial. Being kind has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, increase energy, and increase overall well being. Regular volunteering also leads to increased health.

“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease,” according to Christine Carter, PhD., author of Raising Happiness; 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. “People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”

Ready to feel better and make someone else’s day? Here’s today’s challenge, with thanks to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation: Eat lunch (or a snack, or dinner) with someone new, at work, school, or just out and about.

And remember, if you take the challenge, make sure to come back and tell us how it went!