Smiles From Drew was originally started with the intent to just spread kindness in Drew’s memory. As time went on I knew I needed to do more for him, me and the community around me. But the core of our creation is kindness. Drew was one of the most kind people I had ever met. I learned so much from his beautiful soul.
Because I feel that the essence of Smiles, Drew and my grief journey is kindness and giving back I thought it was appropriate to have a 365 Days of Kindness. I know there have been moments in my grief that the only way I have gotten through that moment was stepping outside of myself, my pain, and my discomfort to help someone else. I have found that by me extending kindness I am not only being selfless but I am being selfish. I by far receive so much more from it then the person I have been kind to. I’m not sure I could have survived this long without Drew without reaching out to others in my pain.
In the last few years there have been lots and lots of studies done about the benefits of kindness. Performing acts of kindness can help relieve depression, pain, anxiety and it can actually change the way your brain processes stress for the better. You really can’t lose by doing acts of kindness. Kindness is actually a trifecta of blessings. You’re probably wondering how one simple act of kindness can help at the very least 3 people. Well, you have the person performing the act of kindness, they stepped out of themselves and saw something that they could help with, then you have the person the kindness was performed for. We have no clue as to what that one action could do to change their day, perspective, or worth for that day. Then lastly we have the people that are witnessing the acts of kindness. These are the people that are just walking past you as it’s happening or just seem to be in the right place at the right time. They carry that act in their subconscious and are more likely to perform their own act of kindness because of what they witnessed. You may not think that holding that door open for someone that had their hands full was a big deal but that’s the wonderful thing about kindness it has a ripple effect. You may never know how far your ripples go or where they travel.
According to a study at the Stanford University found that kindness can be as contagious as a virus. That when people witness the acts of compassion, giving, and kindness they will be more likely to exhibit the same behavior, even if it is much later.
“We find that people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them. This implies is that kindness itself is contagious, and that that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way. To be a potent social force, positive conformity requires such flexibility. Not everyone can afford to donate to charity or spend weeks on a service trip to Haiti. Witnessing largesse in others, then, could inhibit would-be do-gooders who feel that they can’t measure up. Our work suggests that an individual’s kindness can nonetheless trigger people to spread positivity in other ways. “
Doing random acts of kindness can connect you to a bigger picture and instill a sense of gratitude in the heart of the giver. You become more connected to the people around you and it can heighten your own sense of good fortune even when the giver is going through hard times themselves. Doing intentional acts of kindness releases dopamine, serotonin, and other natural opioids. That is why some researchers call the feeling you get when you are doing acts of good as a “Helper’s High” or “Giver’s Glow”. That is why giving or being intentionally kind can help with your physical well being. Studies show that not only giving but the anticipation of giving can help lower blood pressure, less pain and better sleep.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared by scars.” Khalil Gibran
To download the your own 2019 kindness calendar go to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Click here for a link to their website.
You can also follow the Smiles from Drew’s 365 Days of Kindness on our Facebook page. To like the Smiles From Drew Facebook page click here.