The Effects of Random Acts of Kindness
Life can be tough, sometimes even really tough! It’s hard to pull ourselves out of a crumby mood – especially when we’re experiencing a very intense one! When we’re down doesn’t it feel like all we want to do is bring others down with us? It’s so easy to be self-destructive this way. When upset changing our behavior is difficult to do because we feel little motivation to change it to one that would actually make us feel better, even though we know that what we’re doing is making us worse. Therefore, we go with what feels right at the moment even though this leads us down an even darker path.
There’s good science to support the effects of random acts of kindness on enhancing our negative moods. When we’re angry, we usually want to take it out on others. When we’re depressed, we usually sulk and self-deprecate, wanting others to do the same with us. This rarely makes us feel better. One great way to break this self-destructive cycle is to participate in random acts of kindness. This is an opposite action to what the anger or depression etc. usually has us do. It’s in our nature to want to help people. Helping others and being kind is one of the best strategies to utilize to improve our mental health and the mental health of those around us. When in a crappy mood, doing something nice for someone else despite how we feel is a coping skill that’s often overlooked.
The next time we’re feeling bad, let’s take the high road! Examples of random acts of kindness are to hold a door for someone, help an elderly/disabled person across the street, put some extra cash on someone’s parking meter, or to go up to at least five people and give them a sincere compliment. The options of ways to be kind are endless. Let’s face it, life is really tough! All of us are going through something. Keeping this in mind, wouldn’t it be even more imperative to go out of our way and be compassionate to others, rather than spend our energy tearing other people down? Random acts of kindness are a great way to do the opposite action of the negative emotions we experience, as well as to make someone else’s day. It sounds so simple, but give it a try the next time you’re in a funk and see how it makes you feel. I’m sure those around you will appreciate it too!