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World Kindness Day Invites Necessary Empathy and Compassion

person assisting older person to sit down at a cafe

When is World Kindness Day and How Can I Help?

By Michele Eggers, quality care coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 11/10/2021 at 8:00 a.m.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama

If you’ve never heard of World Kindness Day, it may sound like another made-up holiday. Doing something kind in recognition of this day, however, has the power to benefit everyone, and you don’t need to purchase a greeting card to participate.

What day of the year is World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13. Created in 1998, this holiday is celebrated by over 28 countries.

The purpose is to create a chain reaction of compassion by performing random acts of kindness for total strangers. During times when the world feels divided and people seem absorbed in their own lives, observing World Kindness Day offers an opportunity to reflect on an important human principle that has the power to unite us.

In addition to spreading smiles to others, being kind is good for you. In fact, showing kindness to others can have the following health benefits.

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
  • Increased “feel good” neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine
  • Increased endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers
  • Heightened self-esteem and sense of wellbeing
  • Improved social relationships and community connectedness

How do I participate in World Kindness Day?

Participating is simple. Start with controlling the urges to be unkind that are fostered by our busy day-to-day lives. Instead, try these positive actions.

  • Give someone a compliment
  • Smile and say “hello” as you pass people walking
  • Allow somebody to go ahead of you in line
  • Hold the door for somebody
  • Wish others well, including things like “Have a good day,” spoken with sincerity

Remember to also be kind to yourself. By sharing compassion and fostering empathy, you’ll feel better. Try making a list of the things you appreciate about your life and use kind words to speak to yourself.

Kindness is contagious. Although the world would be immeasurably better for people viewing kindness as a guiding principle, having a day to remind us to reframe our thinking about others is crucial for growing beyond the tendencies of our times. Set an example for others to follow and strive to show kindness every day of the year. Being kind to strangers may feel a bit awkward at first, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. You’ll find yourself thinking of new ways to be kind and compassionate to others every day.

Learn more about the art of kindness from the Mayo Clinic by clicking here.

Kindness is just one way that we’re helping to build healthy and strong Wisconsin communities. If you have questions about this important work and how your Wisconsin health plan is working to elevate the wellbeing of our friends, family members and neighbors in our communities, contact us today.

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