On the first day of lockdown in March, I was not in a good mental place as I headed into my office. My coworkers would all be working from home and I would be safe but alone in the office providing support to our team. I decided to treat myself as a pick me up, so I stopped at Caribou and placed my order. When I got to the drive-up window she said there would be “no charge” because someone had paid for mine. Wow, what a pick-me-up for my attitude! I was so excited I said, “let me pay for the next in line”. The Barista informed me that the first customer of the day gave her $100 to use until it was gone. Thinking back, I bet they were delighted to do this for the people going to work that morning--what a wonderful random act of kindness! I told people about it all day and it brought me happiness to pay it forward soon after.
What random acts of kindness can you do for others? For many of us, random acts bring about more joy than specifically doing things for people in our inner circle. According to Psychology Today, random acts of kindness increase a person’s sense of happiness because kindness can promote gratitude. You are kind to others in need; having that awareness then heightens the sense of your own good fortune. Kindness promotes empathy and compassion; which in turn, leads to a sense of interconnectedness with others. Kindness can forward the will to live in depressed individuals who feel isolated and different; that is why performing volunteer work is so powerful. When you feel connected with others, you lessen alienation and you enhance the sense that we are more similar than dissimilar in our experiences. Feeling connected melds us together rather than divide us. Kindness is potent in strengthening a sense of community and belonging. For me the randomness of it allows me to believe they were really happy getting the gift--that it was meaningful.
Random Acts and Self Care
What is self-care and how do I accomplish it for myself and others I care about? According to the site Very Well Mind, Self-care describes a conscious act one takes in order to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health. There are many forms self-care may take. It could be ensuring you get enough sleep every night or stepping outside for a few minutes for some fresh air. Children and seniors often need help to maintain their own self-care. So if random acts of kindness make you happy, it can be a very fulfilling part of your self-care.
Did you ever wonder what makes other people happy? Is it the same for everyone or does it vary from person to person? Comfort Keepers conducted a survey of 1000 people to help find out what brought them joy. This video shows the results of the survey and how people found joy during the pandemic in different ways. (Joy Video is uploaded) Video chats, talking to friends, or doing something nice for others often bring joy. All of this is included in self-care. Finding joy helps us manage our emotional well being during difficult and trying days. Knowing how others find joy may open us up to different ways of providing it. For instance, simply calling grandma might make her day while you might prefer to text--but you know that’s not her style. Help her out and do it in a way she’s going to enjoy which is truly an act of kindness.
For most of us, when we perform a random act of kindness for others we are improving our own emotional health. Here are 25 more ideas on ways you can help seniors with a random act of kindness.