“In a world where we can be anything, be kind” is how the well-known quote goes. It is a quote that resonates in your mind and so it should.
And it is now recognized that making a kind choice is indeed just as good for the person making the kind decision as the person or animal that receives the kindness.
Scientifically proven benefits of being kind
It is said that just witnessing acts of kindness produces the hormone oxytocin which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart-health. And to prove the point just recall how you feel when you watch a clip of an injured animal being saved by a modern day Samaritan.
Sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, quotes a study where about half of participants reported that they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others, with many feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
On top of that, it is said that kinder people actually live longer, healthier lives.
The ‘Helper’s high’
According a 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries it was found that people who are altruistic—in this case study, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.
According to scientific research, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed! This phenomenon has a name – the “helper’s high.”
Of course not everyone can rescue a suffering animal or work in developing countries or give substantial amounts to charities, but we can all attempt to make simple everyday kind choices when it comes to shopping. From home furnishings to food to clothing and accessories, the kind shopping choices we make can have a positive effect on the wellbeing of animals, people and environment (as well as ourselves!)
We are well aware of the environmental and ecological destruction at the hands of humans; we know certain cosmetics and household products are cruelly tested on animals and we know that the production of many goods involves sweat shop labour. But can we change this by making kinder choices in our shopping habits?The answer is yes, we can!
Look at your hand bag or home furnishings and ask yourself what impact that product had. Can you make a kinder choice – perhaps to purchase a product that has not been tested on animals, or an eco friendly product?
It is acknowledged that purchasing only fairtrade products is nigh impossible but that is no reason not try and make considered choices.
And although we Australians love to buy new clothes, (and wallets and bags and homewares) once we tire of them, 85% of it ends up in landfill. Clothing made from polyester can take 200 years to break down. How many people (mainly women) suffered long and torturous hours to produce these products in sweat shop conditions? It is time to consider purchasing second hand, better quality clothes or fairtrade where possible.
Change comes by way of small steps. Let’s continue to take those small kind steps.