Kindness, we’re finding out, is not a zero sum game.
While deeds of kindness may have a cost in terms of time, funds, or energy, scientists such as Sussex University’s neuroscientist Dan Campbell-Meiklejohn have found that “when choosing to be kind to others, we experience a sense of reward in parts of our brain.”
Kindnesses—those acts of generosity, helping, nurturing, and uplift done for others—are really a two way street. The giver and receiver are both made better by it. Relationships are strengthened.
The ancients understood this special power of kindness. King Solomon knew this:
“A kind man benefits himself.”Proverbs 11:17
“The best portion of a good man’s life—his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness, and love.”William Wordsworth
So what is kindness exactly? Psychologists at the University of Sussex have created a Kindness Test, in which early results capture the key words most used to define kindness.
In their Character Lab publication, “A Playbook for Kindness,” Julia Revord and Sonja Lyubomirsky, offer a “pulse check” that can help us increase our acts of kindness. Think about yourself. How many of these things are true?
- I pay attention to what other people want or need to try to figure out how I can help.
- I go out of my way to do favors for others, speak up to support them, share what I have, or simply listen when they need a friend.
- I consciously make small sacrifices to be kind to others, like taking a few minutes to do an extra chore or listening to a story even if I’m not in the mood for it.
- I try to think about how much my actions mean to others instead of how much of a burden they are for me.
In building ALICEhelps, we seek to offer caregivers and care recipients easy ways to mutually benefit from kindness. It is our firm belief that people want to help, but often aren’t aware of the needs. When you use ALICEhelps to support a loved one, needs are shared in such a way that all trusted friends, family, and colleagues—collectively called the care team—become aware of your needs and are primed to offer support, with each act of kindness coming just in time.