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The Power of Kindness

August 20, 2012

ripple effect of kindness


You cannot do a kindness too soon… for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~


 Last week we took the “Great Kindness Challenge”, an International one day event devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible, to all three of our communities – Ramona, PaumaValley and Campo.  Our SmartCare teams introduced the Challenge’s checklist of 50 suggestions, not just to children, as the Challenge encourages, but to patients of all ages at our partnering health clinics, collaborative partners and community members.  The checklist provides such a range of suggestions for participants that everyone had no trouble finding things to commit to: 

Smile at 25 people…..Plant a tree…..donate food to a shelter…..say thank you to a police officer….recycle your trash…

Our Teams were gratified with the responses they received, and amazed at the commitments made to “pass it forward”.    In fact, they made a commitment to not only repeat this annual event, but to introduce and encourage this Challenge throughout the year in many of our Wellness Activities. 

Recently Sara Courtner gave us 3 reasons to practice Random Acts of Kindness:

  1. You have the power to change someone’s life for the better in practicing a random act of kindness:  you may never know how your act of kindness may bring change to someone’s life, but how wonderful the possibilities!
  2. You bring yourself joy in practicing random acts of kindness:  we all know that wonderful feeling we get from giving!
  3. Kindness is cyclical:  compassion and kindness sent out to others does find its way back around!

 I encourage you to take this further and include yourselves in your Kindness Challenge.  As I have spoken of previously, when you take care of, and are kind to your whole self, body mind and spirit, you are more able to extend this kindness to others.

I don’t think you will need further encouragement to provide small acts of kindness towards others or even toward yourselves, as we know that it feels good to be kind.  This is called the “helper’s high”.  But it is also nice to know that there are health benefits from kindness! 

Allen Luks, in “The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health & Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others”, reports that this same release of natural painkillers (endorphins) can lead to decreased headaches and other chronic pains, can regulate blood pressure, decrease depression and ulcers and improve other stress related health problems.  Kindness has also been reported to strengthen the immune system and decrease insomnia.

We would love to hear about your experiences with this Kindness Challenge, toward others and toward yourselves.  Please share them with us, and share Kindness forward!

Pamela Bryson, LCSW

“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”

— Gandhi

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