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Sarah Stultz: A little kindness makes all the difference

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


Have you ever heard one of those stories about a customer paying for the order of the next customer behind them in line at a drive-thru? And then that customer in turn decides to pay for the person behind them, and it continues on and on, sometimes even dozens of times more.

I love hearing about these types of pay-it-forward acts when one simple act of kindess went on to impact dozens if not hundreds of people. These people recognize when someone has done a kind deed for them and then, in turn, decides to let someone else be a recipient of that same kindness.

Next week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, a week started by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation that invests resources into making kindness the norm.

According to its website, kindness creates positive effects not only in the person who is the recipient of the kind act, but also in the person who gave the kind act, along with everyone who witnessed it.

The organization states kindess has been shown to increase oxytocin, which aids in lowering blood pressure, improving heart-health and increasing self-esteem and optimism. Kindness can also help a person feel more energetic and happy.

In a sense, kindness has been shown to be an anti-depressant and can help reduce anxiety.

The foundation offers free lesson plans for teachers who would like to incorporate kindness into their classroom curriculums and offers ideas for people who want to get started.

Granted, you can show kindness any day, but taking part in the effort next week is a great start.

Some of the ideas it has listed on its website include sending an encouraging email, texting someone good morning or goodnight, thanking someone for something they’ve done for you, starting a piggy bank for a cause, leaving quarters at the laundromat, writing a positive comment on a website or blog, and using energy-efficient light bulbs.

The list goes on and on of things people can do to make a difference both on a personal level or on a global level.

Some of the kind acts I’ve seen that I think would be good to try include writing positive sticky notes to brighten up a family member or co-worker’s day, eating at local restaurants, leaving a positive review for a local business, donating used books to give the gift of literacy and complimenting a parent on how well-behaved their child is.

If you’d like to look at some other ideas, visit www.randomactsofkindness.org.

Never underestimate the difference society can make if everyone pitched in and made kindness the new norm.

“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” — Helen James

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.