“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop
Supporting a friend or a loved one going through a difficult time is relatively easy for most of us. We respond out of love and affection for them. Most of us wouldn’t mind trying to cheer them up, call them to check up, or listen to their problems. But what about someone we don’t know? How often do we respond in a similar way? The world is a busy place now and we don’t always have the energy or the time to help others.
In a survey conducted by the Harris Poll in 2016, 72% of the 2000 people surveyed reported feeling lonely at least once a week. And, according to a 2017 article published by the Harvard Business Review, 40% of Americans report feeling lonely on a regular basis. The loneliness epidemic is not just limited to Americans. The UK recently appointed a minister of loneliness to support the 9 million lonely people who live there. Long-term loneliness is considered as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Our society has come to expect nothing of others. We’ve grown cynical but not without cause. Technology has enabled us to communicate in a way that we never have to even see someone’s face. We don’t have to look them in the eye or give them a firm handshake. But this has not alleviated the pain of the individual going through a difficult time but only added to the feeling of aloneness. Every one of us has at some time experienced the feeling of being an island, set adrift in a sea of people and faces with no connection to the general population.
Every minute of every day we make choices; how to treat others and whether to connect with another human being. We are all social creatures and crave a real connection. Our own pressures and issues can make us self-absorbed and not in tune to the problems of others. We may not have the resources to even think of someone else at any given moment. And how often do we make judgments and assumptions based on what a person is wearing or how they are acting? But inside we are still just the same as anyone else.
It is essential that our society move forward with the ability to accept and help others. Research consistently tells us that volunteerism and helping others has surprising health benefits for the person giving. Benefits include greater longevity, stress reduction, reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, relief from chronic pain, less loneliness, more confidence, and a greater sense of overall happiness and wellbeing. Seeing someone’s pain and acknowledging it is one of the kindest things we can do for another. It may only take the care and concern of one person to help another, to keep them going in a difficult time.
According to Bell’s Theorum, once connected, objects will energetically affect one another no matter where they are in space. And studies have shown that distance healing (connection) could affect the autonomic nervous system of the recipient. We also know that, based on quantum physics, everything is energy, including our thoughts, and energy is not limited by time or space.
Danielle Palli, interfaith minister and mindfulness coach, says, “Random acts of kindness don’t always need to be physical actions. We can practice kindness by sending a positive intention to an intended recipient. For example, if we pass someone on the street and we notice that they appear sad, we can send them feelings of peace and joy through a thought or a prayer.” She also goes on to say that by energetically intending to send thoughts of love to others, whether the recipient is known to us or not, can have benefits. “An easy way to put this into practice is this: the next time you give something to someone else, no matter what it is, send an intention that it carries with it love to the receiver,” Palli says.
A smile, a light touch, sending positive thoughts or sending healing love, these things are so easy to do, take very little energy and can still have a wonderful impact on someone having a tough day. As well as giving an act of kindness we also need to receive an act of kindness without judgment as to why the person acknowledged us and just appreciate it. The greatest gift of kindness anyone can give to another is just practicing the word “namaste” which means “I bow to you,” an ancient word of seeing the light in another human being and acting accordingly.