People are currently being inundated with political arguments, negative advertisements and reports of unrest around the world. It is natural to internalize these feelings of turmoil into our daily life. With everything going on, it is easy to become bogged down by a sense of dread. However, a small act of kindness has the power to change a feeling of dread to one of happiness. It benefits the giver, the receiver, and maybe even can extend further then we realize.

Kindness is a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without having an expectation of praise or reward. This is a profound concept and we often take for granted just how powerful it can be.  While there is no expectation of praise or reward, the act itself does come with a benefit to the person being kind. The person doing the act of kindness will almost certainly feel a sense satisfaction that often brings about a renewed spirit.

Think of the ripple effect that one act of kindness can have in your community. If you cause one person to feel more upbeat in their day, they are more likely to pass along a kind act to another person, possibly without even realizing it.

Imagine you are extra polite and cheerful to a cashier at a store.  The act cheers up that particular cashier, who then extends extra patience and kindness to the next customer in line. Each person who receives kindness is likely to extend more empathy to the next person they encounter, and it will spread the good mood throughout your community. Kindness is contagious.

With so much going on in our world right now that we cannot control, you may be feeling very overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on some things that you can control.  Consider baking cookies for a neighbor, writing letters to homebound seniors, or calling an old friend to check in on them. Give at least one person you encounter today a genuine compliment. No matter how small it seems, these gestures can make a big impact.

Studies show that doing random acts of kindness actually creates neural pathways that enhance feelings of well-being. Kindness is a habit and we all must work at it and practice until it becomes a normal part of our day.

It is also important to remember to extend that kindness to yourself. Some days we can handle more than other days. Treat yourself to a special meal, activity, or down time when you sense that your mood needs a lift. Know that some days will not be as productive as others and that is normal. You deserve all the kindness and generosity that you offer to others.

In difficult times like these we need to work to lift up everyone’s spirits.  Spreading joy and happiness through even the smallest acts of kindness is a gift to your community. Start today and create a single ripple of kindness that just may touch many more then you will ever see.

Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at

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