Be kind

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Sometimes a little kindness goes a long way.

Picture the scene: a flustered student running through a train station, weighed down with a backpack and two suitcases. She’s got a minute before the last train home leaves and two flights of stairs ahead of her.

It’s not looking good, and just as she’s resigned herself to a night on the grubby floors of Union Station, a man heading in the same direction offers a friendly smile and a hand with her suitcases up the stairs.

That student was me, and I couldn’t believe my shock at someone’s willingness to help a stranger — a simple act that is becoming far too uncommon in our present society.

I’m finding more and more that the number of times people will hold a door for others is being outweighed by those who let the doors slam.

It’s a troubling trend in the wrong direction. If we all lent an unexpected hand once in a while, the world would be a much sweeter place. Research has actually proven that kindness is good for you. David R. Hamilton, discussed five health benefits that kindness can have on your body in a 2011 Huffington Post article. Particularly noteworthy is the ‘Helper’s high’ that people may experience after a kind act due to the elevated levels of dopamine.

Sometimes, acts of kindness can even save lives. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that in July 2007, a 28-year-old man donated his kidney to a stranger in need, inspiring 10 kidney donations from other donors that spanned the US. The man who carried my suitcases constantly reminds me to pay it forward. If a small act like that can continually inspire me, then what could regular acts of kindness do for society as a whole?

So go ahead, kill them with kindness. It’s good for you.

Rosie is one of the Features Editors at the Journal.

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