I was at the petrol station the other day to fill up my car and was impressed when a young guy who worked there walked over to me and offered to fill it up. Then when I went inside to pay I looked out to see he was cleaning my back windscreen (which had been pretty dirty for a while but I’d been too lazy to do anything about it). It was such a small gesture but he didn’t have to do it and most people probably wouldn’t. Such a small thing but it made such a difference to my day. I wanted to give him a tip but I didn’t have any cash on me so I just thanked him for going out of his way and told him I really appreciated it.
I drove away feeling happier than when I’d driven in, and it got me thinking how nice these little acts of kindness can make people feel, and it made me want to do something nice for someone else.
You’ve probably heard all about the psychological benefits of random acts of kindness not only for the receiver but also the giver. Kindness has been described by scientists as ‘literally good for your heart’ due to the chemicals it releases in your brain which lower blood pressure. It’s not just giving or receiving that makes you feel good, even just witnessing an act of kindness often makes people feel all warm and fuzzy. Why else would stories about good deeds spread so quickly on social media? Like the heartwarming story of the tattooist in Hamilton who applied temporary tattoos to a woman with Down Syndrome because it made her smile. His act of kindness went global on news sites and had over 177,000 likes on Facebook.
Often we get so busy with the daily pressures of our own lives that we don’t stop to think what we could do for someone else. But what if everyone took five minutes everyday to do something genuinely nice for someone else? Whether it’s a stranger, a work colleague, a relative or a friend, not only could you make someone’s day, but they might then go on and make someone else’s day and so on, creating a ripple effect for the giver, the receiver and anyone who sees the act of kindness and are then inspired to do something nice themselves.