An Experiment in Kindness
Inspired to Change Pay it Forward with Random Acts of Kindness
Here at Inspired to Change we start every one of our client sessions asking them to tell us what has been good about their week. We’re not just nosey – there is a scientific reason why we do this (but’s that for another blog!). One thing that always ends up on those lists are the small little things they have done for other people. It’s guaranteed to make us feel good when we carry out these small acts. In fact a whole movement has built up around these “Random Acts of Kindness”. So why does it make us feel so good?
The Science Bit
As hypnotherapists who base our work on both scientific and practical research we had to check this out for ourselves, so we’ve been experimenting with the pay it forward philosophy. Here’s what happened.
Our Maidstone hypnotherapist, Ali tested it out small to start with – smiling at strangers, because a smile is one of the most powerful things we can share. “It was interesting how people reacted, a stranger just giving them a warm smile when they were in their own world. Most people smiled back – genuine warm smiles. I figured that even though it would be partly an automatic response even that would create a feel good feeling for them and who knows what might have happened next”
Next she bought a coffee for the person behind her in the queue at a café, telling them she was experimenting with random acts of kindness. “I think I prefer it when it is anonymous because it’s just a really nice surprise and there is no obligation on the part of the person receiving it, but the young mum behind me was delighted and she loved the idea of paying it forward. She said she would be trying it out herself.”
Over in our Northamptonshire clinic Caroline decided on a theme – to make as many people smile as possible! “Bringing a bit of happiness into someone else’s life brings huge benefit and not just to the person on the receiving end. My own personal findings back up all the research studies that show the wellbeing of the person giving is boosted along with the person receiving and also the people they go on to come into contact with too. So if I make someone else smile they are more likely to go one and make the other people they come into contact with smile too. Everyone’s a winner!”
“I started my experiment by focusing on passing interactions – the delivery driver, the shop keeper, the receptionist. What I discovered was that it was actually really easy to get people to smile. All it took was a few kind words and I was rewarded with a beaming smile and a few kind words back. What I found really interesting was that those fleeting interactions with someone I wasn’t likely to see again were actually the highlights of my day. They were the interactions I recounted to my husband that evening and as I recounted them I found that I was smiling again.”
“Next I wanted to see how I could get those people I spend a lot of time with smiling even more. I needed to be more creative here, what could I do that was different to what I normally did that would put a smile on their faces? So I left notes behind me after I’d left somewhere telling people the things I loved about them. I left small gifts, nothing expensive, just a little token to let them know I was thinking about them. But I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I just left them there for them to find. And it felt good! Just like those passing interactions it really made my day to know that I had made someone else’s day. I enjoyed it so much I now find myself on the look-out for more opportunities to make people smile”
Random acts of kindness are a phenomenon that can be seen in films like Pay It Forward, in worldwide movements such as The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and even in local businesses – a florist in London ‘Petal to the Metal’ leaves a beautiful bunch of flowers on a park bench every week just to make someone’s day. The big thing is that no matter how small, an act of kindness is significant to the person receiving and the person giving.
In a world of uncertainty and stress, a little kindness goes a long way. Here at Inspired to Change we hope we’ve inspired you to try out your own random acts of kindness. I wonder what you will do today to spread a little kindness?
If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you get in touch with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist and book your FREE initial consultation
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Gloucestershire, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
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