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  1. I started committing random acts of kindness daily some years ago. The happiness that ensued was incredible.
    Sometimes as a teacher I would do a recess duty for a colleague that I knew was having a rough day or home life. Occasionally on a cold winters day I’d bring in a pot of steaming hot soup for everyone to enjoy.
    Sometimes just noticing a name tag or a name written on the restaurant bill by your server was enough. Making a point of calling that person by their name brought a smile.
    There are as many ways to commit random acts of kindness as there are minutes in the day.

  2. I have always felt so fortunate to be in a profession that affords me many opportunities in a day to be kind and generous (though of course “life” does that too!). Being away from my practice right now with a broken foot, I am aware of the absence of those opportunities and the “lift” that being kind and helpful gives me. Like many of us in the “helping” professions I can give and give but completing that energetic circle-receiving- isn’t as easy. Again, this temporary situation I am in has brought this difficulty to the fore. I do believe that it is important to allow others to give TO ME so that the energy keeps moving. In my belief system, “asking” and “forgiving” complete that flow but these are topics for another blog. post!

  3. Yes I agree that acts of kindess contribute towards our wellbeing. What I find is that helping clients to develop a feeling of compassion for themselves and others will lead to spontaneous acts of kindness. I think that we have to be careful with some clients that it does not become another ‘should’ It is the feeling that goes with the act that is so important and healing.

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  4. I would and do recommend acts of kindness not just because of readings and studies but because of the wonderful effects its had in my personal life.
    I’m recovering from to many character defects and dis-eases to mention here so my life has been full of experiments, some have worked and many have not but kindness has paid handsomely. James.

  5. I appreciate your blog, Ruth. Thank you for your tireless watchfullness seeking & quoting of research which is so fascinating and validating our work. This issue of practicing kindness and generosity beyond the mere “what I can spare” is a particularly universal thing, accross cultures. It proves time and time again the truth about human nature that we are created good and that we orient ourselves naturally to good. And that the good is felt depest if we give ourselves to others – we find true ourselves in others. It is lonely to fell good just by yourself. I am interested in the mechanism of how this good (the birth of his daughter) which the man in your story experienced, was a prompt to share good and joy with others. Similarly, how giving -seemingly an act of depleting ourselves, requiring our energy and diminishing our resources, is fruitful in others and may prompt them to do the same, to share the the good and thus spread the joy further. I love how the neurological science confirms the observable and the anecdotal, and confirms the existance of the specific mechanisms and brain structures and processes that establishes our uniquness amongst the living creatures.
    I just hope that this man will not stop his acts of kindness after a year and will continue to be kind in a permanent way. The literature and history is full of stories how a random act of kindness have served to change the course of an entire life of the receiver.

  6. Ruth,
    Thank you for the reminder of the power of kindness that goes beyond intellect, beyond rules, and straight into the heart of the individual (and brain!) and the matrix of the Universe for a kinder world–my passion!

  7. I do not take issue with this article at all and expect that few or any would in this day and age where ancient wisdom continues to appear as old wine in new bottles. I have in mind the ancient tale of Rabbi Hillel who reportedly was asked to summarize the Torah in one sentence while standing on one leg, a seemingly impossible task. He replied with what is now called the “Golden Rule” to “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”;could be stated in the negative (i.e Do not do….etc.). The circumstantial meaning of this rule could be philosophically discussed, as it is in Talmudic commentary and secular sources, but the power of its universl acceptance is deeply rooted in human nature, as an idesl if not in universal practice. Well, that’s enough for a short commentary on the article. We should all live and be well. Shalom, Marvin

  8. I practice this everyday, at the VA Medical Center where I work, we are encouraged to always smile and greet anyone who passes us in the hall way. Note our hospital is low to the ground and walking the entire figure 8 is a mile. The facilityis a very calm and relaxed for both employees and patients!

    • Thanks so much for this so simple mesagse that so often gets tossed aside in the daily grind. I have learned so much actually about kindness just from BGClub/Camp in the time I have been receiving the emails and when I went to camp last September. They have helped me on a daily basis to remember that it’s much easier and better for everyone in the long run to be kind than to be bitter, angry, disappointed or hateful. Day after day of pain and struggles can cause us to get so frustrated and discombobulated at times that we forget that we should still be kind and gentle to everyone. I always need your special reminders Melody. I love that it is THREE women talking together in the picture!!

  9. I have been using THE FAMILY VIRTUES GUIDE: SIMPLE WAYS TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN OUR CHILDREN AND OURSELVES by Linday Popov in my work with children and early childhood educators. Kindness is one of the virtues that we nurture through practice along with many others including: thankfulness, caring, joyfulness, flexibility, and peacefulness. I encourage teachers to purposefully set children up in opportunities to sucessfully practice using the virtues which each of us embody. I love the story of the man who is proactively providing himself with opportunities to strengthen his kindness.

  10. A group of us put on a Christmas dinner for the community. It is open to everyone, no means test. We get a lot of support from local businesses, service clubs and individuals. I got involved with this group because I wanted a place for my clients (I work at Addiction Services) to go on Christmas Day that was alcohol and drug free. I was also concerned that some of my clients might have burned their bridges with family in the past and had no place to go. Over the years, some of my clients have gotten involved in the preparation of the Christmas dinner, decorating the hall, setting the tables, peeling potatoes, serving dinner. It has been good for them to feel that they can give back, pay it forward, so to speak. They glow when they talk about it. I think it is also fun for them to work together with other community volunteers and be seen as regular people, not addicts, and to have their input respected in that way. It seems to be good for our therapeutic relationship as well, working together in a whole different way. So it may sculpt their brain, it may give them pleasure, it may promote attachment. I think for the clients who helped, it made them feel good about themselves and they carry those good feelings forward whenever we talk about it.

  11. Thank you for again bringing attention to the importance of kindness. I think that even before we find out exactly how being kind affects the brain we can go back to knowing that every experience that we have affects the brain. Everything that we do has an affect good and bad. So the more we choose to do good, the more likely we are to do it again as what flows through the mind sculpts the brain. – that is good enough for me.