How Giving Supports Kindness, Happiness & Well-being
Did you know giving supports kindness, happiness and well-being? How can we use giving to support kindness, happiness and well-being of our families? For a majority of families around the world, school is out on break. You have your kids, teens and university age students at home for a while. It is up to the family to find activities to support our children and young adults. Teachers and parents have been acutely aware of the decrease in our younger populations happiness, well-being and mental health. It could be due to pandemic itself and the uncertainty it brought, it could be the lack of socialization your younger generations experienced during the last two years. It could be the effects of social media that is now showing its ugly head. No matter what the cause is, implementing activities that enhance, increase and positively affect our children and young adults is a must. And it is easier than you think.
Student Reactions To Their Giving Experience
A recent study published in May 2020 ‘Kindness as an Intervention for Student Social Interaction Anxiety, Affect, and Mood: The KISS of Kindness Study conducted by Katie J. Shillington, Andrew M. Johnson, Tara Mantler & Jennifer D. Irwin showed that kindness was an effective intervention to helps students anxiety, mood, well-being and mental health. When reading the research paper, I loved the comments recorded by the students who participated in the study and wanted to share. It shows the impact their 2 weeks of completing small acts of giving had on them overall and is worth noting.
The small acts of giving that were completed by the students ‘ranged from every day activities – holding the door open for people; smiling at and greeting strangers and offering compliments to people. Acts that were more unique in nature included: donating clothes; shoveling snow from neighbours’ driveways; leaving post-it notes with words of encouragement in areas for people to find; and handing out chocolate and positive notes to people around campus.’ Sounds Familiar right?
One participant noted, “I really like this study. I normally do a lot of random acts of kindness, but this experiment allowed me to reflect on them to see how it made both myself and others feel.”
Another participant noted an increase in their awareness of their surroundings, “including people’s alertness… and how easy it is to spread happiness.”
Almost all participants expressed that they ‘felt good’ after participating in the acts of kindness. This was underscored by one participant who stated, “I felt good being able to anonymously make someone’s day. I felt good getting rid of clothes I no longer wear and donating them for people who need clothes and will get better use out of them.”
This student’s comment was “I think it felt good to do all these helpful things and lessen the load of someone else’s, it gave some more meaning to life in my opinion.” This participant recognized the causal sequence that considering other people’s wellbeing had, namely on their overarching life satisfaction.
Another participant stated, “Performing these RAKs (Random Acts Of Kindness) are very good for my mental health. I feel very positive doing these RAKs and continue to do them with the intention of purely helping others.” Another participant paralleled this comment by stating that engaging in the acts of kindness, specifically with their family and/or partner, contributed to positive mental wellbeing.
Participants described feelings of happiness, joy, and alertness, to name a few. Many participants mentioned feelings of happiness post-engagement in the acts of kindness which, in turn, they felt improved their wellbeing. This was reflected by one participant who stated, “Dedicating my time to things that will make other people’s lives easier is an important contributor to my personal happiness.”
Themes In The Research
“Participant responses to their experience engaging in the acts of kindness yielded six themes and four subthemes: (1) increased awareness; (2) improved wellbeing (decreased stress and improved mental health, and improved mood); (3) increased self-esteem; (4) fostered connection; (5) reciprocity (response from acts of kindness recipients improved wellbeing of the giver); and (6) engagement in acts of kindness felt effortless (natural, habitual).”
You might also want to check out The Butterfly Effect: A Legacy Through Kindness by Nicola Catherine Paviglianitiv published in December 2015. This study completed at the University of Western Ontario has similar findings. The research is continuing and we will find that giving empowers all of us to facilitate positive health and community outcomes.
Help Your Family Start a Giving Habit To Increase The Happiness and Well-Being Of Everyone
The observations of the participants in this study are encouraging. What we do know is that we, as parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents, can facilitate a giving habit at home to build happier and more engaged kids and young adults. Using our 365give Challenge during this school break will help to put our younger generation back on track, be kind citizens and improve their well-being. They deserve this and we as adults can easily help them get there.
As stated by one of the participants, they were amazed at how easy it was to spread happiness. And it is, that easy!
Check out our 365give Challenge and get your family involved in a great school break exercise that will increase well-being, happiness and kindness. It is a life lesson that will stick!
Reference : Shillington, K.J., Johnson, A.M., Mantler, T. et al. Kindness as an Intervention for Student Social Interaction Anxiety, Affect, and Mood: The KISS of Kindness Study. Int J Appl Posit Psychol 6, 23–44 (2021)