If you think you hear words and phrases like…kind, kindness, random acts of kindness, intentional acts of kindness, kindness and grace, kill them with kindness, one of a kind, the milk of human kindness, you get farther with a kind word than…..” more now than ever before…you wouldn’t be wrong. Kindness is making a come-back…and apparently just in the nick of time.
The one phrase that put kindness back in daily dialogue, several years ago, was the phrase “Random acts of kindness.” It struck a spark that spread like a wildfire. Suddenly people were talking about all the different ways they anonymously performed a random act of kindness for someone else, particularly strangers, without their knowledge.
It was and still is a popular topic today…though intentional acts of kindness are also competing for the top spot. In several different magazines and newspapers…authors, in differing areas of expertise, are discovering individual and even group acts of kindness are a direct response to a disturbing increase in higher levels of anxiety in this country.
One article I read in The New York Times cited these latest stats dealing with the scary increase in stress and anxiety found in our country and the underlying causes.
Credit…Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times
There were many factors cited…but basically Americans feel more isolated than ever…and at a loss to feel in control of their own lives any more…too much is happening too fast to mentally or emotionally process and there are not enough periods of peace and calmness in the news to offset the daily turmoil that leaves most Americans feeling left out with no control over too many issues. Feelings of helplessness and frustration prevail.
This notable increase in anxiety is starting to become another hot topic discussed in the news and on talk shows. On the Hallmark Family show Rebekah Lyons, author of Rhythms of Renewal – Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose shared this information she discovered while researching her book. *Today she is a mother of three teenage children which we know can definitely keep you hopping.
As a society, we are in the throes of a collective panic attack. Anxiety and loneliness are on the rise, with 77% of our population experiencing physical symptoms of stress on a regular basis. We feel pressure chasing careers, security, and keeping up. We worry about health, politics, and many other complexities we can’t control. Eventually we find our minds spinning, trying to cope or manage a low hum of anxiety, unlike ever before.
I think the first time I was made aware of the number of young people on anti-depressant medicine (on a daily basis) was when I was teaching some courses at both the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern after I retired. A student would come up to me after a test and apologize for not doing well…but she had overslept and didn’t have time to take her anti-depressant medicine.
At breaks I would see students grabbing bottled water to take their ‘medicine’…it truly broke my heart. I had no idea young people felt that much stress and anxiety at the college level while finishing up their last semester in the vocation they dreamed of doing. What was causing this anxiousness?
But it just didn’t stop with young people…suddenly it seemed like you weren’t in the “groove” (date myself 🙂 if you weren’t on anti-depressants and/or sleep medicine.
I remember even a physician was filling in for one of my oncologists one day going over my medications…she stopped, flipped back the the chart, looked again, and then asked me…“You aren’t on an anti-depressant medicine or sleep medicine”…I shook my head, kind of confused…and she muttered something about me being one of the first patients she had come across without either.”
Personally speaking…I have to take so much medicine just to keep my heart beating regularly, my blood pressure stable, hormone medicines, chemo medicines with not so great side effects… that I will be darned if I am voluntarily adding any thing else I don’t need to function and be happy…enough is enough…I would give anything not to be on any medicine.
And that brings us full circle as to why kindness is making a comeback in these troubled times. Think about it…we feel personally in control when we do something kind or nice to someone. We get to choose the when and how we are going to do a kind act..with no interference from others.
In addition….we receive in return a feeling of accomplishment, happiness, laughter, euphoria….serenity…we get more back than we actually give…and people who volunteer have a longer life span than those who don’t.
So until tomorrow….What we give away…we reap back in bountiful blessings of happiness. Not a bad exchange, huh?
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
One of the very best quotes on how to live life…It’s easy to remember and easy to do if… we just put others first.
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” (Henry James)