This is Random Acts Of Kindness’ week and social theory indicates that if you observe a random act of kindness, you naturally feel the need to be kind to someone else.
Just a single act of kindness sends ripples through the social network setting off chain reactions of generosity. So, if you are waiting in line and allow the person behind you to go first, that person could be kind in turn to the checkout person, who then is more likely to be patient with an elderly customer later in the day. Social scientists conducting experiments found that just a single act of kindness could lead to a chain reaction of up to 370 subsequent acts of kindness.
However, witnessing a grand gesture such as someone paying for a stranger’s shopping or buying a round of drinks for everyone in the bar is likely to prevent subsequent acts of kindness as people feel their help is not needed. This phenomenon is experienced by charities who upon receiving a large public bequest find that their regular donations dry up.
Stanford University found that 5 acts of random kindness had the added benefits of doubling the individual’s happiness and ties into the Sanskrit law of Karma which states you sow what you reap.
So, just small acts of kindness to strangers can have a big impact on the wellbeing of the community. While the lockdown means that often people cannot see your smile behind the mask, there are lots of little things you might be able to do now. As, you are saving time on your commute to work, you could be kinder to other drivers or allow a pedestrian to cross the road. Saying please or thank you has the effect of showing people you respect their time, and they feel appreciated.
Enjoy ‘Random Acts Of Kindness’ week and see if you feel better once you get to 5 !