‘Kindness is something anyone can give without losing something themselves’ Random Acts of Kindness

I follow Dr Chatterjee, a leading UK figure in the field of living well. Recently he’s been talking to Prof Claudia Hammond about the varied benefits of being kind. Claudia says there is evidence that it’s far more than just ‘the right thing to do’. There are measurable improvements to the mood and wellbeing of both giver and receiver.

Claudia is an award-winning broadcaster, author and psychology lecturer. She is also the presenter of several podcasts and radio shows including All in the Mind on BBC Radio 4 which covers psychology, neuroscience & mental health and the weekly global health show Health Check on BBC World Service.

In her research on kindness which asked 60,000 volunteers a few questions, the results of which were published earlier this year, she discovered these 10 facts (among lots of other very interesting stuff).

1: Kindness is common

16% of people said they had received an act of kindness within the last hour. 43% in the last day.

2. The most common kind act was to give help

Not the kind of help that involves fundraising, but stepping in to lend a hand when asked

3. Around 66% of people believe the pandemic made us kinder

Probably because we all needed to feel that kindness was near us and we wanted to look after others

4. Being kind boosts your wellbeing

People who receive an act of kindness understandably feel better, but being a giver works in the same way

5. Extroverts deal with more kindness than introverts

They’re more likely to give, and more likely to receive kindness

6. Kindness is valued most highly at work

Despite it being 3rd on the list of where kindness is received. Home was top, followed by medical settings with online, public transport and the street being bottom

7. We’re good at judging our own levels of kindness

The test asked people to determine if males or females were kinder. Women came out slightly higher, but many were willing to judge themselves as less kind

8. We’re worried our kindness will be misinterpreted

Claudia herself said in a Guardian article, ‘I’m no saint, but I want to be kind if I can and yet it seems I’m not alone in being held back by a fear that my offer of help might not be welcome.’

9. People who talk to strangers are more open to kindness

Even though extroverts are more likely to talk to strangers, this fact held true regardless of personality

10. Kindness is not affected by affluence

Regardless of income, people are able and willing to offer kindness.

We all know it feels nice when someone’s kind to us – and that it feels nice to be kind too. But the benefits go further than that, with marked increases in stress relief, a reduced risk of burnout, and an overall rise in longevity. One study, she says, even found people could lift heavier weights when recalling something nice they’d done for others.

So, your challenge this winter is to do something kind every day; be a little more extrovert and talk to a stranger on the bus or give a smile to someone you pass on the street, do something kind for yourself or for the people you work with, especially if you’re the boss! It doesn’t have to be big…