Contagious Kindness

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

On my way in to work this morning I looked in my rear-view mirror to see a car so close that I could see the whites of the driver's eyes. Had a deer jumped out in front of me, or some other emergency happened, the driver behind me would have hit me. Eventually, the driver turned off, but not without a gesture that let me know what I already knew, they didn't like following me this morning. I am one of the very few people that obey the speed limits on this route, so I do understand the frustration someone could feel when they get behind me. I was once that frustrated driver. Speeding tickets tend to slow you down though.

Still, I keep finding myself thinking about the situation and how it had the potential to ruin both our days. As it stands, maybe they have gone on to have a great morning. I know, I haven't really let it bother me. But I think about all the times I have had the opposite situation. One where someone is kind, and what effect that has on me and the rest of my day.

Studies have shown that being kind has enormous benefits, for both the giver and receiver. Kindness has been shown to increase energy, happiness, lifespan, pleasure, oxytocin (love hormone), and serotonin (feel good hormone). Furthermore, kindness has been shown to decrease pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure.

It turns out that not only being kind or having kind things directed your way, but even witnessing kindness has positive effects on people. Kindness is contagious. Witnessing an act of kindness makes you more likely to be kind yourself.

One quick check in on pretty much any social media platform and you can see that the world is in desperate need of your kindness. We argue about everything. Trivial, petty, senseless arguments like sports, politics, religion, movies, music, and even how to properly replace the toilet paper roll are just some of the things I see adults argue about daily.

I would like to challenge everyone that took some time to read this to do at least one random act of kindness today. I don't mean holding a door for someone. Try paying for someone's meal or coffee without them knowing or maybe buying a lottery ticket and giving it to someone. I'm sure if you look for opportunities to show kindness you will find plenty.