Random acts of kindness

November has a Friday the 13th I can’t wait for. There’s no superstition here, and I’m starting to plan for it now.

With the earlier setting of the sun and cooler days upon us, I feel a need to boost my spirits. The trick-or-treat season will be over, but I’m planning a day of special treats for this Nov. 13.

 I have no idea who’ll receive them, but that doesn’t matter one lick.  Just thinking about it lifts my spirits.

When I need a boost, one of my favourite things are Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). Even thinking about and planning them, causes a shift in my mind and body.

RAK don’t have to be big. Simply doing something nice for someone without being asked, and with no expectation of a return, is a random act of kindness.

The ways in which we show kindness don’t have to cost anything, and can be as simple as holding a door open for someone, letting someone into traffic, paying for the guy’s coffee behind you at Tim Horton’s, plugging a parking meter for someone else, or sending a kind text to a friend.  

There are so many ways to show kindness.

As part of a neighbourhood group I belong to, I’ve been touched by the posts of a lady named Jennifer Mae, who continues to plant painted stones around the neighbourhood for people to find. These painted stones are lovely acts of kindness Jennifer bestows on our community.

The finders of these treasures aren’t the only beneficiaries, as Jennifer is the first recipient of her own thoughtful acts. Her happiness begins as she plans and paints her rocks, and continues as they’re placed around our community.

A simple idea, with lovely consequences.

It’s easy to see the joy and happiness this brings her and those who find them. I’ve never received one, but just reading about them gives me a boost.

Last year, on RAK day, I found a gift-card for a coffee-shop tucked under my windshield wiper. I also found a sweet post-it note stuck to my car. It was delightful. I am planning to add these ideas to my repertoire of kindness for Nov. 13. I may even start sooner.

RAK are of interest in the scientific and psychological world today, as researchers delve into the benefits.

While recipients of kind acts benefit in a variety of ways, we don’t have to wait for them to happen to us. The greatest effects are experienced by those who perform such acts: (https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness)

  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • Increased self-worth and happiness
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased sense of personal connection
  • Reduced stress hormones
  • Decreased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increased heart health
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Increased energy

We can rewire our brains and reset our body chemistry for the better, as acts of caring find their way into our brains and bodies. Successful people are found to incorporate kindness into their lives.

Even planning future acts, or recalling past acts of kindness, cause a positive shift inside us.  

While no one else even needs to know about the kindness you’ve extended, benefits are experienced by people who merely witness such acts being performed. They are uplifted and more likely to extend kindness to others, compounding the effects.

As research into the benefits of RAK continues, encouraging such acts is being considered as an intervention to support mental well-being.

There’s a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation you can visit to learn more about the benefits, as well as receive ideas to inspire you.  

Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day, but don’t wait until then to utilize this simple, yet powerful practice.

Let the wave of kindness begin.


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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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