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Kindness and Acceptance Teen and Parent Wellbeing

Smile

By: Divya Venkataraman

There’s a common phrase that says, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” And for the Taarika Foundation, kindness — in any form through any medium — matters.

This year, Random Acts of Kindness Week is from February 13, 2022, to February 19, 2022, according to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation — a week to reflect on the positive impact of kindness. 

With the period of uncertainty — the Pandemic — we have been and still are facing, it seems appropriate to take any chance we can get to make someone else smile; we do not know what others may be facing in a time like this, and we can only hope that our presence brings a positive aura anywhere we go. 

How can we do this? 

You guessed it: random acts of kindness! Random acts of kindness provide a way to release positivity into any environment. They bring the community together regardless of background — lifting people’s spirits while making you feel good in the process of helping others.

Illustration by Divya Venkataraman

What’s more, according to UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, researchers have found that witnessing kindness also inspires people to be kind, a phenomenon referred to as “moral elevation.” Ultimately, random acts of kindness act as a medium for people to offer kindness to others regardless of socioeconomic status, disability, race and more.

Why Random Acts of Kindness?

Kindness is shown frequently in the world we live in — a reality easily overlooked by many. Large or small, these acts of kindness are common, even if we may not always be aware of them nor their positive effects in the community; and while kindness is often covered by the shadows — going missed by many — its beneficiaries are tenfold. 

We all should strive to make kindness more noticeable in society; kindness has the power to make a difference — random acts of kindness shown to strangers and friends alike have the influence to bring more smiles to more peoples’ faces.

Why do Random Acts of Kindness Work?

Random acts of kindness have been proven time and time again to make both the recipient and giver of kindness feel an elevated sense of contentment. According to UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, it has the power to not only make one think more highly of themselves but also become “more aware of positive social interactions.” 

According to a research paper published in Oxford Handbooks Online by Kennon M. Sheldon, Julia Boehm and Sonja Lyubomirsky, variation in kindness is the key to happiness. To avoid the feeling of redundancy with kindness, an approach that includes various ways to express kindness to different people can help with enacting positive change in the community. Random Acts of Kindness are one of these methods we can use to help make a change in whatever environment that surrounds us. 

Moreover, according to a study conducted by Sheldon et al. published in the Review of General Psychology, a significant increase in happiness was measured in participants who performed five random acts of kindness for six weeks consecutively. Random acts of kindness have the ability to bring change to anyone and everyone’s lives regardless of past history. 

How to do Random Acts of Kindness?

It’s time to look outside the box and express your kindness. Kindness matters — it can be as small as a smile and holding the door open for someone or as large as protests, delivering food and raising awareness for mental health.

Illustration by Divya Venkataraman

Random acts of kindness are a venue to show your kindness. Regardless of whether we know the recipient or not, the kindness expressed at random intervals — with no forthcoming — allows for a way to bridge the community together and ultimately make multiple people feel good.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation even offers a list of diverse Kindness Ideas to refer to. I hope everyone takes the time to look at the list and express kindness in their communities!

Looking Ahead

Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” I like to think kindness has a ripple effect: your kindness doesn’t just make you feel good, your kindness spreads to others as well. Then their kindness spreads, and so on until we get a communal kindness movement. 

Ultimately, kindness is a universal value that will unite people — it is an avenue upon which everyone can agree on. So, whether it be a simple random act of kindness in a community or anything else, we should all start enacting kindness in our communities, looking beyond differences and instead recognizing the underlying humanity in each and every one of us. I’d recommend starting by showing a random act of kindness to someone near you right here and right now; whether you know them or not, kindness can make anyone smile.

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