Kindness is Contagious
Have you ever noticed that when you smile at someone, they are more than likely to smile back at you? Just like a smile, kindness is also contagious. Studies suggest that being kind or simply observing kindness, can create a rippling effect of happiness.
Performing/witnessing an act of kindness can instantly elevate your mood, this feeling is called “moral elevation”. It is that warm-fuzzy sensation you feel when in the presence of a genuine, authentic, and spontaneous act of kindness. Studies have shown that this natural high we experience (feeling the resonance of kindness in our chest) when being in the presence of kindness is what makes people want to pass forward the good deed and behave more altruistically towards others. Another phenomenon that explains why kindness is contagious is the “social contagion” – the spread of emotion from one person to another. Kindness not only impacts the receiver, but also the giver and any observers. It creates a positive feedback loop, by making you happy, which in turn makes you kinder.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring all of which have the potential to turn a life around” – Leo Buscaglia
The smallest act of kindness performed today can have profound impacts, as it spreads from one person to another, locally and globally, taking on new forms along the way. Since kindness is contagious, once observed, kindness can spread at least three degrees of separation from the initial observer. Although you might not always be able to see the rippling effect of your kindness, know that your generosity can cascade throughout your entire social network and affect the lives of dozens or even hundreds of other people. And the best part is that an act of kindness not only makes the other person feel good but it also makes you feel good. Simple acts of kindness, like paying for someone’s coffee, helping an elderly person across the street, or simply smiling at strangers are all ways of spreading a little bit of sunshine everywhere you go.
Kindness inspires kindness. And the more you practice it, the more you automatically want to perform it, not because you have to or someone is watching but because you want to. Eventually, you don’t even have to think about it, it becomes an auto-response, you do it because it feels good and it’s the only thing that feels right in the moment.