Scenario One: I'm walking down First Avenue heading out to grab a bite with my husband when I enter the dance that often occurs on a crowded street: A man approaches me head on; I go left, he goes left, I go right, he goes right. I giggle; he get’s very angry and says, “Watch it. Walk to the right. Use your brain!” Immediately I feel hurt and angry that a stranger could be so unkind, and I have a hard time shaking that feeling as I try to enjoy my evening out…bummer.
Scenario Two: Skip to...Entanglement ensues; I giggle; the man giggles and asks me to dance, and then we both laugh and move on. I leave with a smile on my face, fortunate for the opportunity to connect with another human being, even in just a small superficial way.
Unfortunately scenario one is what actually happened (as you probably guessed or I wouldn't be writing this post). Kindness is like a yawn, contagious and even somewhat cathartic; it’s also been proven to reduce stress and lead to better overall health. Don’t miss the opportunity to be kind to a stranger.
Even better, how about we try an experiment? For one week try doing one nice thing for a stranger each day, whether it be helping an older person with their groceries, asking the cashier at the supermarket how her or his day is going, offering a compliment to someone on line with you or simply smiling at a passerby. And don’t expect anything in return either, just put it out there. Let me know how you feel…
Similarly, read about how volunteering can help your health.