Make a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing on World Kindness Day

October 19, 2021

World Kindness Day is held globally on 13 November, celebrating the importance of kindness to oneself, others and the entire world.

The day promotes the idea of making the world a better place by carrying out acts of kindness and acknowledging the positive impact kindness has on all of our lives.

Established by the World Kindness Movement in 1998, the day soon gained popularity. There are now 28 countries involved in this day promoting kindness, gratitude and respect for others.

In Australia, the day is coordinated by World Kindness Australia, a platform established in 2011 to support members to help create a kinder world. It feeds into a worldwide campaign to engage people of all ages and at all levels of society to act with kindness every day and promote the idea of taking “courage to be kind.” The campaign aims to respect differences, practise inclusion, hospitality and gratitude, and embed them as core values in all sectors of society.

The proven impact of kindness and gratitude on health

Scientific evidence proves that kindness and gratitude have a positive impact on our mental and physical health.

A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that people experienced higher levels of happiness after performing extra acts of kindness. Participants were tasked with carrying out one extra kind action per day for seven days, and they reported that they felt happier after carrying out or witnessing an act of kindness.

Kindness has major implications for patients suffering from life-threatening diseases too. Research by teams from American and Australian universities found that kindness practised by healthcare professionals to cancer care patients had the ability to diffuse the negative emotions associated with the disease and could even improve outcomes. The results have been published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

There is proof that self-kindness is impactful too. A study carried out in Australia published in Aging and Mental Health looking at a sample of older men and women found that actions relating to self-compassion, which included self-kindness, protected against feelings of depression.

It’s clear that kindness, gratitude and compassion pay a huge role in our mental and physical wellbeing.

Looking for inspiration?

If you’re looking for more inspiration on promoting kindness, check out some of these stories on the internet of how small kindnesses can make a big difference.

  • In this clip, the owner of the Timbuktu café in Melbourne tells the story of how a grateful customer had anonymously donated $750 as the business struggled during the pandemic and how this generous gesture had uplifted him.
  • This inspiring compilation includes a homeless man paying back the kindness of a stranger by buying him lunch with the money he had given him.
  • In this video, Felicity Hardy from YMCA Australia explains her role voluntarily coordinating a basketball team for adults with learning disabilities. She explains that the joy it brings her is “pay back” for the time she puts in.

Whether it’s donating your time or money, or just carrying out a simple gesture, acts of kindness are something all of us can aspire to. Make it your mission this World Kindness Day to change the world, one small act at a time.

Catholic Social Teaching guides the work we do – day in, day out.  Respecting one another, committing to the common good, walking with people and communities in solidarity and providing options for the poor and vulnerable are key values we work towards, and align perfectly with kindness.

CatholicCare is the social care agency of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Broken Bay. We provide services to 22,000+ children, young people, individuals and families on the NSW Central Coast, Northern Sydney and Northern Beaches, and have been doing so since 1987. We are here to help if you need us.

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