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There’s a strong and positive connection between kindness and mental health. Here’s how:

Benefits of Kindness on Mental Health:

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety:Acts of kindness trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of calm and reduces stress.
  • Increased Happiness and Well-being: Kindness activates the reward centers in the brain, leading to the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and happiness.
  • Improved Self-esteem: Helping others fosters a sense of purpose and accomplishment, boosting self-worth and confidence.
  • Stronger Social Connections: Kindness fosters positive relationships and combats feelings of isolation, which can be detrimental to mental health.
  • Greater Sense of Perspective: Focusing on the needs of others can help shift attention away from personal worries and cultivate a more positive outlook.

Where to start? Kindness can be as simple as giving a smile or a compliment. Sometimes we think it needs to be a grand gesture, but every act of kindness is important.

To help you think of more ways to be kind, our HopeStarters created a list of their favorite acts of kindness:

  • Once a month I pay for the order of the car behind me in the drive through.  There is no rhyme or reason to the car or the restaurant, it’s when the spirit hits.  Sometimes it may be twice a month; however, it is always once.  The emotional benefit is I feel good that I may have made someone smile.  I remember on one occasion the car behind me gave the cost of their order as a tip to the car hop. (it was at sonic)  So the act of kindness was payed forward.  I began doing this 10 years ago when someone in the car for me paid for my order and it made me feel grateful for someone just being kind.
  • My favorite random act of kindness (when i know the person) is surprising them with something i know they want or enjoy… like their favorite food or candy, or a book they are interested in reading.

  • For people that i don’t know, my go-to act of kindness is usually letting someone merge in traffic, or holding the door open for them and engaging in small, smile-inducing conversation.. like complimenting the person on their hair or shoes. I have noticed that people appreciate “common courtesy” more nowadays, probably because it isn’t very common anymore.

  • My random act of kindness is paying for the person behind me in line at Starbucks or a fast food restaurant. I also send lunch to the guys where I get my oil changed after I leave the shop. It’s not much, but it makes me happy and I hope it makes them happy enough to pay it forward when they can.
  • Random act of kindness for me, was when at the Aldi I noticed a couple going through their items trying to add things up to make sure they had enough money. They were 2 spots back from me in the checkout line, so I gave the cashier 20$ and said make sure this goes to that couple to help with their groceries. I left before they checked out so they wouldn’t feel the need to thank me.
  • I love giving small specific compliments to folks.  It’s amazing how people’s face light up, even for the little things.
  • We once went to a dollar store and taped dollar bills on the non display side of toys (so when kids picked them up they’d have the money to get the toy)
  • We went to an arcade and taped baggies of quarters to the sides of the machines.
  • While in the drive through line, we paid for the car behind us.
  • Heart attacking the front door of someone’s home/office (taped heart shaped messages of gratitude for the person/family
  • Genuinely complimenting someone- especially those that might be providing a service (cashier, pharmacist, waiter/tress)
  • Holding doors for someone
  • Telling or writing to someone about what they do well
  • Expressing gratitude- every single chance you get
  • Believing in someone’s potential
  • Taking garbage cans up to the house/garage for a neighbor
  • Picking up litter in parks/outdoor areas
  • Warning someone when the toilet stall is out of toilet paper
  • Keeping confidences
  • Sending little pick me up messages or funny memes

Need more ideas? We created a kindness calendar that you can download and print. Put it on the fridge or a bulletin board for a reminder to practice kindness.

On of the ideas on the calendar is to take suicide prevention training. You can find details about our community trainings here

Important Note: Kindness should be a balanced practice. While helping others is beneficial, it’s crucial to prioritize your own well-being and avoid burnout.

Here are some resources for further information:

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