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Some Thoughts on National Kindness Day


The Williston community received a reminder from Director of Inclusion and Community Life Erin Davey that today is National Kindness Day, “and right now, the world could use it more than ever,” she wrote.

She quoted psychologist Lisa Damour, author of Untangled and Under Pressure: “Research finds that altruistic behavior activates the very same regions in the brain that are enlivened by rewards or pleasurable experiences. Remarkably, helping others also causes the brain to release hormones and protein-like molecules, known as neuropeptides, that lower stress and anxiety levels. Here’s the bottom line: doing good is good for you.”

Here are 19 ways Davey suggests you show kindness today and beyond:

  1. Start with yourself. Yes, you’re at the top of this list. What is one simple thing you can do that fills you up? It may mean taking 15 minutes for a phone call with an old friend, shooting hoops or reading a book. It may be simply saying “yes” if someone offers to help.
  2. Get moving. You don’t need to start a rigorous exercise program. You can start with walking or even a five-minute stress relief program, and then keep going.
  3. Drink more water. It’s recommended that women drink 72 ounces of fluids per day and men 100 ounces.
  4. Go to sleep earlier. Lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to illness. Routine, cooler temperatures and a dark room are key to good sleep.
  5. Treat your sweetheart/friend/parents. Do something nice that makes your people happy—take a walk together, make their favorite dish or load the dishwasher the way they like it.
  6. Ask a friend who you haven’t spent time with to dinner or invite them to a weekend activity.Host a family or dorm dance party.
  7. Phone a relative. So many grandparents are missing their children and grandchildren, so why not call a relative? And if you miss someone, you can call them, too.
  8. Heritage recipe hunt. Call the main chef in your family and ask her or him to walk you through a longtime family recipe. Then make it. If they claim you have to have a certain ingredient from the old country, ask for another recipe.
  9. Talk to your family or friends about race. Educating ourselves beyond our own identities will help us navigate the wider world in a thoughtful way.
  10. Bake for a neighbor/friend.My favorite neighbors stress bake and share their baked goods. There is still so much more to bake.
  11. Communicate your gratitude. Handwritten letters have become a sort of lost art, but there is nothing like receiving a handwritten note that shows care, intention and the reasons why someone loves and appreciates you. Think of the colleagues, friends and family members you cherish and why, then let them know. The simple things often mean the most.
  12. Grocery shop for someone who needs it.You may have neighbors who are housebound or could use a helping hand; food banks are seeing more people in need.
  13. Support a local restaurant. Order a takeout meal this week from a local joint that needs your business.
  14. Take a hike. Hiking any time of year is good for you and shows support for our parks and other public natural spaces. More than ever, we need nature.
  15. Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. Even as single-use packaging might be piling up in your home — and eventually landfills —there are ways to reduce our footprint.
  16. Turn off your lights. Just when you don’t need them. Turning them off saves money and resources.
  17. Social distance. It’s OK to sometimes see people if you stay apart (6 feet at least). Lawn chairs spread around a fire pit sounds good right about now.
  18. Dress for the season and be outside. Whether you live where we’re heading into winter (so bundle up) or summer (shorts weather), experts say it’s good to get outside for our physical, mental and emotional health.
  19. Wear a mask and wear it well. It can be annoying or uncomfortable, but it signals to the world that you don’t want to get other people sick or possibly kill them, and new research shows it protects you, too.

Make it a great day and take care of each other.