Tip your server.
Return your shopping cart.
Pick up a piece of trash.
Hold the door for the person behind you.
Let someone into your lane.
Small acts of kindness have a ripple effect. That’s how we change the world.
This is the first blog for our Random Acts of Kindness Deck by life Hack Decks™ which is owned by The Uncluttered Life, Inc. The purpose of this Random Acts of Kindness Deck is to help create the kindness ripple effect in the world.
How Does the Ripple Effect Work?
The ripple effect works like this. When we are kind, we inspire others to be kind. Small actions create a ripple effect that spreads outward. Just as a pebble creates waves when it’s dropped in a pool of water, our kind action continue beyond us, touching others’ lives and kindness goes everywhere the wave does.
A Quote About Kindness
This is one of my favorite quotes about kindness. It says, “Kindness is one of the most forgotten yet most wonderful gifts you can give. It heals wounds and brightens days. It brings us together and reminds us that we are more similar than we are different. Sometimes it’s easier to be cold and distant and harder to be warm and vulnerable. Choose Kindness Always. Be an encourager. Be someone who helps others. Give love. Have compassion. Stay humble. It is the little acts of kindness that make the biggest difference.” - Walk the Earth
A Practical Application of The Ripple Effect
The ripple effect truly does make a big difference. We choose to be kind at the grocery store by offering a gentle word to the woman behind the cash register. I know nothing about her, her day, or her situation in life. I also don’t know what’s on her mind and what has led her to this very moment in her day. I offer her a smile. I ask how she is doing, not making small talk, but actually looking into her eyes. I thank her after our transaction and my groceries are bagged. I say something kind as I leave, and I get into my car. In some way, our interaction has affected her. I hope it makes her day just a little bit better.
The Opposite of Kindness Also Creates a Ripple Effect
It is just as easy to say something unkind, be impatient or rude toward the woman behind the counter and walk away without offering gratitude. Maybe she made a mistake. Maybe she was slow to understand a question I asked because she was paying attention to something else. Maybe she was thinking about something that had just happened to her and wasn’t responding to my “hurry up” cues. Or maybe I just chose to be impatient and unkind. Both actions, kindness and unkindness, take some form and amount of energy. One is positive and the other is not. Choosing kindness is the better option.
That small interaction has the potential to either make a positive or negative impact on the woman behind the counter and the rest of her day. This interaction is the start of the ripple effect. This same woman will interact with hundreds of people during the rest of her day, bagging their groceries, making chit-chat. Should I choose to offer kindness and improve the rest of her daily interactions? Or should I make her day more difficult with negative words so that she has an edge for the next several hours? If we really believe: Be the change you wish to see in the world, I should choose kindness. What that means is choosing to be kind rather than choosing not to be kind begins with us. It’s as simple as that.
Random Acts of Kindness Prompt Decks
For this reason, we have crated our Random Acts of Kindness Deck. The deck is 52 prompt cards that offer suggestions for doing small, daily, meaningful acts of kindness. The prompts range from pay-it-forward ideas to ideas that take just a second but make a huge impact on someone else’s day. They are prompts that encourage people to smile, be grateful for your interaction, and start a chain of positive thoughts rather than negative ones.
One suggestion in the Kindness Deck is to send a handwritten note, thanking someone who has had a positive impact on your life. The card can then be dropped off or mailed. The time it takes to do this is less than five minutes. These few minutes, when you have taken the time to acknowledge someone, raise the vibration of kindness. And that is the objective of this one prompt. Writing a short handwritten note is a five minute action that starts the ripple effect and enables someone to be seen and heard. Or feel loved.
Raise The Vibration
From there, perhaps the recipient has a better day. Maybe the recipient has a day where he or she is more patient with someone else who is having a bad day. Or maybe the note increases another person’s happiness so that he or she has an abundance of good feelings that spill over to many others. Whatever the situation, the outcome is always the same. Kindness, shown in a multitude of ways, has the potential to make the world a happier and kinder place by raising a positive vibration. It’s just that simple.
We often hear people say to do random acts of kindness. This is the same idea. Whatever you call it, the intention is the same. Do something kind for someone else. It not only has a positive effect on the recipient, but it also has a positive effect on the giver. And on the world. Random acts of kindness can release hormones that contribute to an improved mood and a person's overall wellbeing. Most research on the science behind why kindness makes us feel better has centered around oxytocin.
"The Love Hormone"
Sometimes called "the love hormone," oxytocin plays a role in forming social bonds and trusting other people. It's the hormone mothers produce when they breastfeed, cementing the bond with their babies. Oxytocin is also released when we're physically intimate. It's tied to making us more trusting, more generous, and friendlier, while also lowering our blood pressure.
Research suggests that acts of kindness can give our love hormone levels a boost. Studies have linked random acts of kindness to releasing dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that can give us a feeling of euphoria. This feel-good brain chemical is credited with causing what's known as a "helper's high." In addition to boosting oxytocin and dopamine, being kind can also increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. The trick is that acts of kindness need to be repeated to have a positive physical affect. Biochemically, you can’t live on the 3-to-4 minute oxytocin boost that comes from a single act of kindness. It needs to be repeated.
Pick up a deck of Random Acts of Kindness cards and get to work making the world a better place for others. In turn, this will improve your life, too.