Kindness has a positive effect on our physical, mental and social health; it's a springboard for creating a positive environment in our schools.
If we put gratitude at the very heart of everything we do, it will benefit our own mental health and make the world around us more appreciative and kinder.
Gratitude is only part of the process though; for us to be grateful there needs to be a moment of difficulty, an act of kindness and finally an expression of gratitude.
Kindness is good for us as it increases our energy levels and reduces our stress. When an act of kindness takes place it marks a moment in time and splits our day into positive chunks.
When we act kindly we create a shockwave of positivity that encourages others to express appreciation launching a chain of gratitude!
The Dalai Lama once said:
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy practice compassion.
We shouldn't need a reason to be kind as it should just be the norm. However, in order to trigger a chain of gratitude, Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated in the UK and other places around the world on 17th February.
Being kind isn't difficult and it doesn't have to take a lot of time. Random Acts of Kindness Day provides a number of easy ways to implement suggestions such as paying for another person's meal in a drive-thru, buying extra at the grocery store and donating it to a food bank, buying flowers for someone, taking doughnuts to work or letting a car into the traffic ahead of you.
One of the great aspects of kindness is that we can build up a store of positive emotions produced by kindness in experiencing a "gratitude narrative".
Kindness can also be taught in the classroom which is great news for teachers and students alike:
- Firstly we can model kindness in the classroom and show the students what being kind looks like.
- Secondly we can encourage our students to be kind, with activities such as collecting food for food banks, creating art for local care homes or sharing a message of gratitude with someone.
- Thirdly praise students for their acts of kindness to one another.
- Fourthly, when we create an environment of gratitude, we make it easier to open up with psychological safety, and give each individual the space to open up about the difficulties they are facing.
- Finally, we can encourage our students (and our peers) to be kind to ourselves!
So let's use Random Acts of Kindness Day as a springboard to create a chain of gratitude across all our schools; take a moment to do something for someone else and spread kindness throughout your school community.