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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Carmel Aaron: Kindness goes viral

  • Sharing happiness creates personal benefits and even helps us achieve a healthier life.
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  • Kindness does a world of good.  So, people, organizations and even studies promote it.  Yes doing good benefits others, but it helps us too. 
     
    Sharing happiness creates personal benefits and even helps us achieve a healthier life.
     
    Kindness helps our community whether it is small acts of spontaneous random kindness, or regularly planned as in volunteering.
     
    It doesn’t matter if the people we are kind to are strangers, friends, and family, those we work with, neighbors, old, young, live close or far away.
     
    Scientific research proves that helping others increases happiness.
     
    One of those studies shows that when people did 5 new acts of kindness on one day a week, after only 6 weeks these people felt an increase in well-being compared with the group who did not do the acts of kindness.
     
    Yet, in another study, people were given $5 or $20 to spend on others or to donate to charity.  These experienced greater happiness than people given the same amount to spend on themselves.  The different amounts spent seemed to have no effect on their level of happiness.
     
    Of course spreading Kindness can take no money at all.  A few simple kind words can do much good.  Words such as I care, or I am here to help or I love you, all can be beneficial.  With some situations, words are not even needed, just being there is fantastic.
     
    So how does our being kind to others really help us?
     
    It helps us in many ways.  We have an increased satisfaction with life, by giving more meaning to it, it increases our sense of well-being and confidence, and it helps to improve our mood and reduces stress.  It can also help take our minds off our own troubles.
     
    Being kind to others helps by connecting us to more people.  It helps our entire community and encourages others to also share kindness.  Kindness is one of our very basic needs.
     
    This was demonstrated by the fact that kindness has the ‘ripple effect.’ That means that kindness shared with others led to entire communities being healthier and happier as well.
     
     
    How does kindness help our entire community?  The mentioned research has shown that kindness seems to be contagious.  When people demonstrate kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves.
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    So by sharing in acts of kindness, we are influencing others to spread it around, kind of like a good virus instead of a bad and dangerous one.  This is one I hope everyone catches.
     
    In that way, kindness is considered key to creating a happier, healthier community.
     
    Volunteering
     
    Volunteering also has many benefits.  One of those benefit is it helps us from losing our cognitive function.
    This was demonstrated by a study of 2,500 people in their 70’s, and the study lasted for 8 years.  I’d say that is pretty beneficial.
     
    Other studies have shown that volunteering teenagers have had increased self-esteem, a reduction in anti-social or problem behaviors and, improved attitudes to school and increased educational achievement.   Many adults and teens have been a great source of volunteers here in our area by teaching classes at the community center, helping at nursing homes and our assisted living facility,etc.  Thank you- you fabulous volunteers.
     
    It does seem as if the evidence proves that by volunteering you will have a much improved sense of well-being, and maintain good cognitive function well into old age.
     
    We have so many here in our area that are regular givers with their selfless volunteering, now you know even more about your benefits with giving kindness.
     
    Try to make sure you match your giving to activities that are enjoyable and in line with your own goals and feel are worthwhile for you as well as those you assist.
     
    Helping is very good for us, but balance is needed.  Just ask an extremely overworked caregiver.
     
    I’d say the bible is right when it says there is ‘more happiness in giving than in receiving.’
     
    Share your happiness, allow it to go viral; both you and those you love will be happier and healthier that you did.
     
     
    (Carmel Aaron lives in Heber Springs has a degree in biology and has been certified by Proevity in Nutrition and Glycemic Indexing. Contact her about Weight Loss, & Wellness –at: - AWellnessCoach@Gmail.com)
     
    References:
    "Why Kindness Is Good for You" (Hay House, 2010).
    www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-research
    Page 3 of 3 - www.worldvolunteerweb.org/resources/how-to-guides/volunteer/doc/benefits-of-volunteering.html
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