The Importance of Kindness in Our World: Defining Kindness and Reasons to Be Kind – Part 1

Photographer met an older man on the subway. The man kneels in the subway station with a sign that reads "seeking human kindness".
The photographer met Michael in a Boston subway station and he defined kindness as “doing a deed for another person without expecting anything in return.” Source: Unsplash

By Abigail Mathew, Intern at the Alliance for Sustainability (www.afors.org)

Kindness is one of the most powerful actions in the world. A kind gesture and heart provide a huge stronghold against all the woes in the world, especially in this day and age. As Princess Diana once said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you”. Kindness can help to and provides peace to everyone’s mind.

Two people outside and one person hands the other an apple from their own basket.
Being generous is a characteristic of being kind.
Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

Kindness is defined as being friendly, generous, and considerate. In today’s society, kindness sometimes has the connotation that someone is naive, weak, or even submissive. But being kind often requires courage and strength. Some examples of kindness are: 1) noticing when someone needs a helping hand; 2) celebrating others’ successes; 3) telling others the truth in a gentle way; and 4) being kind to yourself.

Noticing when someone needs help shows that you have awareness. Additionally, your response to someone’s successes may determine more about your relationship than how you respond when times are difficult for them. As you can see, kindness can look very different and there will always be many opportunities for you to be kind.

Elderly couple holding hands and looking at each other lovingly.
Kindness was found to be one of the largest
predictors for a stable and long relationship.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Kindness is important in our world for many reasons, but the two most notable ones are that it provides positive changes in our health and strengthens our romantic relationships. According to the Atlantic, researchers have found kindness to be one of the strongest predictors of stability and satisfaction in a marriage. Kindness has to be the backbone of a relationship and it can be built through the way partners interact with each other daily. There are numerous reasons why relationships fail, but oftentimes it boils down to a breakdown of kindness.

Practicing kindness to ourselves and others can provide physical and mental improvements in our body like lowered stress levels and increased production of feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Being kind also boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, and reduces anxiety. Fortunately, being kind isn’t difficult and the great thing is you will get these amazing side effects when you’re being kind.

This year’s World Kindness Day is Saturday, November 13th, but don’t wait to celebrate and promote kindness until then. You can start right now!

Next: How to Show Kindness to Others and Be Kind to Yourself

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