Today is World Kindness Day. Here are five reasons to be kind, ranked from most obvious to most surprising.
(1) It’s Nice To Be Nice
Let’s start with the obvious: we should be kind to others because it’s nice to be nice. That’s simple and enough of a reason.
Many people have forgotten how to be kind. It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t take away from anything. Why not do it?
(2) It Feels Good
Many people are in pain. Kindness feels good. We feel better when we are kind to others, and we feel good when we receive kindness.
(3) Create a Positive Spiral
There’s so much pain in the world. Kindness is an easy way to spread healing.
Kindness is contagious. People who are treated with kindness are kind to others. Even witnessing kind acts creates a positive spiral.
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes kindness as “a manifestation of humanity’s higher or better nature.” It gives us a sense of the capacity of the human spirit, which often goes overlooked amidst the chaos and conflict of daily life.
Witnessing acts of kindness brings us a renewed faith in humanity. It creates an increased connection with others and an increased desire to help.
(4) Create Connection
Kindness creates connection in three planes.
Psychologist Steven Taylor writes that
altruism transcends the separateness we often experience as human beings. It connects us to one another – and in fact, pure altruism is only possible because, at the deepest level, all human beings are part of the same network of consciousness.
We might expect that both the person who perform the kindness and the person who receives the kindness feel connected.
Here’s what’s even better: studies show that even people who witness the act feel connected in the same way; when we witness an act of kindness to someone else it’s as if we received the kindness ourselves.
(5) Boost Productivity
When it comes to hacking your productivity, kindness is a secret weapon.
The key currency for productivity is energy. Anything that boosts our positive energy will help us maintain focus on our outcomes and on the work we need to do to reach our outcomes. Anything that brings our energy down will sabotage our focus.
It follows that kindness, which boosts positive energy, will translate into a productivity boost.
You’ll get better results by treating your team with kindness. People who are treated kindly are more likely to care more about doing good work. They will work harder when they feel loved and cared for.
Your acts of kindness will also give you an energy boost.
This applies even if your “team” is just you. High achievers can be self-critical. We may even take pride in the fact that nobody is harder on us than we are on ourselves. We may have learned this behavior from others who disciplined us when we were younger.
If you resist being kind to yourself because you believe that you will lose your edge, it’s time to question that belief.
Studies show that self-kindness, in the form of self-compassion, produces better results than self-criticism.
According to psychologist Kristin Neff, who studies compassion,
Self-compassion inspires us to pursue our dreams and creates the brave, confident, curious, and resilient mind-set that allows us to actually achieve them.
There you have it. Five reasons to be kind. Not just today, but every day.