Become a RAKtivist

You have a whole week to plan.

Pull a team together to be co-conspirators. I’ve put my thinking cap on already.

Just thinking about next week’s special day puts a smile on my face.

I’m talking about World Kindness Day, an annual event that’s celebrated on Nov. 13.

It’s easy to keep our heads down and our tails up in our day-to-day living, but our attitudes of busyness keep us stuck in the stress cycle. Waking up and spreading thoughtful goodness into the worlds is a practice worth cultivating.

I love feeling like a secret agent for good, as I perform random acts of kindness (RAK). It’s so much fun to watch people’s responses. RAK always makes me feel better, and there’s scientific evidence revealing why.

World Kindness Day began 21 years ago. Twenty-eight nations now participate in The World Kindness Movement, whose mandate is to create a kinder world by inspiring people and nations toward greater kindness.

I love kindness stories. This April, a band of kindness-spreaders snuck into a local grocery store, armed with post-it notes filled with kind words close to closing time.

I’d have loved to have been among them as they made their way through the aisles, affixing their merry messages for the staff to find in the morning.

That’s one type of mischief I want to be part of.

Practicing RAK can be simple. Simply holding the door for another, paying for the coffee of the person behind you in the line-up, or extending a smile or a compliment are all quick and simple ways to engage in the act.

Practicing RAK not only makes this world a better place, it’s scientifically proven to be good for our health.

People who practise kindness experience a decrease in:

  • Pain, as natural pain-killers called endorphins, are secreted
  • Stress, as the stress hormone cortisol, is reduced
  • Effects of aging, also related to reduced cortisol
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, related to secretion of serotonin
  • Blood Pressure, due to secretion of oxytocin, which dilates the blood vessels

Practicing acts of kindness increases:

  • Cognitive function
  • Energy and feelings of strength
  • Happiness
  • Lifespan
  • Pleasure
  • Self-esteem and optimism, due to secretion of the love hormone oxytocin

Kindness is contagious. It’s the kind of virus I’m happy to spread.

People who witness or experience an act of kindness are more likely to perform one. The positive effects of kindness are reflected in the brains of everyone privy to kind acts.

If you want to feel better, experience a bit more bounce in your step, and feel more connected, this is a simple, quick, and easy way to do so.

Kindness is teachable, and there are school programs available to assist educators in including kindness in their classrooms.

There are organizations and websites dedicated to RAK, each sharing strategies and research into the subject. I’ve signed up, and I’m planning something special for Nov. 13.  Check out this link to register and to find out.

Become a RAKtivist, and involve others in your planning to spread the benefits. Be the one who starts the movement in your circle.

Let a wave of kindness ripple out, with you as the epicentre.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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