By: Jen Champion
Random acts of kindness are spontaneous expressions of care and compassion that profoundly impact the giver and the receiver. These acts can range from small gestures, like holding the door open for someone, to more significant acts of service, such as volunteering in a soup kitchen. Regardless of the size of the act, research shows that random acts of kindness can have several positive benefits for our health and well-being.
How have you expressed and received kindness?
Our actions go beyond improving mood. They contribute to overall well-being. The science of kindness informs us there are neurological benefits when we are on the giving and receiving sides. Just thinking about being kind, our body receives signals like we are in the act of it. Positive thoughts associated with expressing kindness release serotonin, the feel-good hormone, and oxytocin the love hormone. These hormones enhance our comfort, safety, and joy and support our minds, emotions, bodies, and spirits.
Kindness also provides emotional support and can help us relieve stress. We can build resilience to stressful conditions. When relaxed, we have space to explore and secure personal, authentic happiness, which grows towards graciously offering kindness to others. There are many techniques and resources for cultivating and replenishing individual reservoirs of vitality. You will find a few listed at the end of this article. In addition to personal benefits, acts of kindness significantly impact our social connections—acts of kindness foster social, familial, community, and workplace relationships. Experiencing and sharing kindness strengthens areas of human commonality and potential. We support each other with acts of kindness when we inspire, share, and try new things. In our shared existence, strength and happiness weave unity and community.
Kindness is an integral exploration in my life and yoga practice. I like to blend movements, meditations, and philosophies to encourage insight into the self as a human and divine source of kindness. I offer these opportunities in my classes with the intention that we will carry ourselves with peace and joy, on and off the yoga mat.
The Yoga Sutras is an ancient text describing the path to a fulfilling and happy life. In the Secret of the Yoga Sutra, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait translates Sutra 1:33: Transparency of mind comes by embracing an attitude of friendliness, compassion, happiness, and non-judgment toward those who are happy, miserable, virtuous, and non-virtuous.
The purpose of cultivating the four positive attitudes (friendliness, compassion, happiness, and non-judgment) is to instill higher virtues in our minds. These virtues allow our mind to reclaim its natural, pristine, joyful state.
Random acts of kindness are simple and powerful ways to positively persuade our world. By performing acts of kindness, we improve our health and well-being, strengthen social connections, foster compassionate and caring communities, and have more fun! Consider your time and dedication to actively contributing to the collective benefit of kindness. Learn what it is and how to become a Raktivist. Random Acts of Kindness 2024 is a worldwide celebration held during the week of February 11-17. Join me at the Vista Wellness Center on February 15 at 11:15 am. I will spread kindness and share yoga tips around our neighborhood, 15th and Pearl. Hope to see you there!