Whether you live in a big city or a small community, you will know the feeling of being isolated even when you are surrounded by people.
You know that feeling when you and the voice in your head are having a convo and it feels like everyone around you are strangers? After all, you are 1 person in a world of 7.3 billion other people. Well you’re not alone in feeling a bit lonely. Ironically, young people are more digitally connected than ever before, yet research shows that people between 18-34 have never felt so lonely. Well, I have found a cure that makes me feel connected, happy and high the whole day. And it’s so, so simple.
A year ago today, my brother and I launched a kindness movement called K-tag. Like any game of tag, you have to keep passing it on, it can’t stay with you. It starts with one person doing something kind for someone (this could be buying a coffee for someone in the queue behind you, leaving a flower on someone’s doorstep, or a note of appreciation on a colleague’s desk) and then leaving them with one of our eco-plastic K-tag cards that remind them to keep passing the kindness (and the card) on. The K-tag card fits snug in your wallet next to your bank card. It’s like having access to a universal currency of doing good, one act of kindness at a time.
The K-tag cards remind people to include an act of kindness into their week or day. The cards are free and can be sent to you wherever you are in Australia. All you have to do is send us your name and address to email@example.com and we will pop some in the post for you.
If this hasn’t convinced you to start the kindness game in your school, workplace or community here are some other clear benefits of being humanKIND:
1. Kindness creates connection
I K-tagged a girl at a café by buying her lunch and afterwards she managed to find me on Facebook and we have since become good friends. A simple act of kindness makes a stranger a friend or reminds someone you already know that they are seen and appreciated. In a world of ever increasing loneliness, we all need reminding of this.
2. It’s good for your health
Yep, it’s like a magic pill. In the last few years’ scientists have been understanding the link between kindness and health. “Helpers high” was first described by Allan Luks who surveyed thousands of volunteers and found that people who reached out to other people consistently stated that their health improved. Happiness is also a natural anti-depressant because it increases the serotonin in the brain.
3. It’s fun, and easy
Are you creative? Or a wordsmith? Whatever your interests are, you can use these to K-tag someone. My brother wears a suit to his city job every day and I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt. You don’t have to fit a stereotype to be kind. You can bake a cake, write a card, paint a picture, write a message in the front cover of your favourite book and pass it on… The opportunities are as endless as your imagination.
4. Everyone wins
Not only do the people giving and receiving kindness receive the ‘helpers high’ that happens when you give an act of kindness, but also the person that observes the kind act. So you’re creating a ripple effect that stretches well beyond you. The book Good to Great looks into what makes top CEO’s so successful. One of the great indicators of success was people’s ability to be kind and caring. It wins every time.
5. Kindness eats intelligence up for breakfast
We place a lot of importance on intelligence within our education system, but not enough on kindness. Forest Gump said; “I’m not a smart man but I know what love is.” Being kind is not weak, it is actually a secret power. Kindness to others and ourselves takes away that emptiness feeling and replaces it with a sense of inner peace and personal power.
6. Kindness is cool
Ashton Kutcher recently said in a university graduation speech; “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. It’s just crap that people try to sell you to make you feel less. So don’t buy it! Be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous”. Being kind will help you make friends and get ahead.
Kindness works. This World Kindness Day give it a go. It will help this big, sometimes overwhelming planet feel a bit more connected and happy.