Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness Week

World is busy watching Winter Olympics, following the celebrities, and catching rumors. And…still… Random acts of kindness week captured the attention of the Googlers. So, the modern people are not so hopeless, as it seams to be.

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What is RAK?
Annual Random Acts of Kindness Week began February 15. The week-long event was designed by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to encourage people to practice more, well, kindness. There are plenty of opportunities for us to be nice to one another in everyday life. Some of us take the initiative to do good deeds, while some follow the footsteps of others. This week has been designed to raise our awareness of generosity and encourage us to do nice things for others – not just for our family and friends.  The idea is to “tap into our own generous human spirit and share kindness with one another,” while discovering “the power of kindness to effect positive change in our lives and the lives around us. When kindness is expressed, healthy relationships are created, community connections are nourished, and people are inspired to pass kindness on.”

What to do?
The possible action steps might be different for businesses and individuals. While your financial possibilities are quite limited, note that not every good deed has a monetary value.

You have no idea where to start? Get few tips from the poster below:

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Here are some more ideas, and even if you haven't any extra cash, a smile and a greeting are always free.

-        Put a coin or two in someone's parking meter.
-        Compliment well-behaved child/children when you're leaving a restaurant.
-        Help someone clear their car of snow/ice, rake some leaves, or other odd chores.
-        Pay for someone's meal or cup of coffee.
-        Invite a senior who's alone in a restaurant to sit with you.
-        Send a card or letter to a friend or relative for no other reason than to bring them joy.
-        Leave a thank you card/note along with your next tip.
-        Volunteer some time at your local animal shelter, either for cleaning or playing with the animals.
-        Buy or make a bunch of cards (great for kids) and drop them off at a nursing home or hospital.
-        Also great for kids; make colorful and patriotic pictures or collages for a local veterans hospital or organization.
-        Pay for someone's car wash in line behind you.
-        Drop a thank you card, for the clergy, in the offering plate at your place of worship.
-        Offer to babysit for someone for free, so they can have a night out.
-        Bring some healthy treats to share with everyone at work.
-        Send an email to someone with a thoughtful compliment.
-        Lend a sympathetic ear to someone who obviously needs one.
-        Send a letter or card to a teacher or someone who has inspired you.
-        Bring flowers for the receptionist at your next appointment.
-        Buy a gift card for gas or groceries and mail it anonymously to a neighbor.
-        At holidays, get a group of kids together, teach them a song or two, and then go caroling or visit a nursing home.
-        Help out at the next fire company fundraiser; or, find out when they're having their next meeting and offer to supply baked goods for them to enjoy.
-        If you have the know-how, offer to help a family member prepare their taxes, draw up a budget, or use their computer.
-        Help out the mother of a newborn by volunteering to do a little housework for free.

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Never Heard of It!

Didn’t even know Random Acts of Kindness Week existed? You’re not the only one, though you might be surprised to hear that this particular event had a rather high-profile beginning. In 1994, the 103rd Congress passed H.J.RES.357 (PDF) a resolution declaring the week starting February 12, 1995 to be “National Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Marsh pointed out the irony of officially sanctioning something that’s supposed to be random (as seen in this series of photos of an elderly man who fell on the sidewalk, and the strangers who picked him up), but acknowledged that every little bit of encouragement helps. “Things that seem random often don’t happen without some type of broad sense of approval or encouragement,” he noted.

Congress acted after the phrase “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” had grown steadily in popularity since being coined by California writer Anne Herbert in 1982. After various other publications picked up on it in the early 1990s, it started showing up in West Coast graffiti and, of course, on bumper stickers everywhere. In 1993, Bakersfield College professor Chuck Wall started a “random acts of kindness” movement (taking credit for the slogan himself, hardly in keeping with his mission), and Herbert published a book taking its title from the phrase.

All that remained was for Congress to jump on the bandwagon in 1994. While the official designation was only for the second week in February of 1995, nonprofit organizations have kept the tradition alive ever since.

Health Benefits of Kindness

Yes, that is true. Being kind and help people pays off. Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some key points:
-        Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
-        A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
-        Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc. A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
-        Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.
-        A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain can occur.
-        The incidence of attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body is reduced.
-        The health benefits and sense of well-being return for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.
-        An increased sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism, as well as a decrease in feelings of helplessness and depression, is achieved.
-        Once we establish an “affiliative connection” with someone – a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding – we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.
-        Adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of mental health.
-        The practice of caring for strangers translates to immense immune and healing benefits.
-        Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income.

May be, you will love the feeling of helping people, may be you will find that being kinds helps you. May be you will decide to have every week a little bit of Random Acts of Kindness week. May be, the World become a better place than…


umuts said...

thank you

Mad Men Girl said...

Calling all random acts of kindness! Or even on-purpose ones!

I've entered a contest to win a walk-on role on that retro-licious TV show "Mad Men".

If you wouldn't mind taking two seconds to vote for me, go to my blog, or use the following link, which will take you right to my picture:

Thanks a bunch!