“The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!”

Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University for Scientific American

Kindness is contagious! During the week of February 16 through February 23rd communities everywhere participate in events encouraging us to reach out and simply – be kind! Out of all the viruses going around, this is the one contagion I welcome. When we engage in kindness we have the potential to experience the following: 

  • Increase in oxytocin: encouraging a rise in self-esteem and optimism, which is beneficial if we are anxious or shy in social situations.
  •  Increased energy: studies report that participants feel stronger and more energetic after helping others – They are empowered!
  • Longevity: giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease, according to Christina Carter in Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents
  • Increase in serotonin: a natural antidepressant, calming and promoting joy.  

In addiction, doing nice things for others usually does not fall to the top of our priority list. In recovery, we come to understand the necessity of service work as a vital piece to sustaining serenity and harmony. Here are some simple suggestions to kick start your participation anywhere:

  • Wait – and hold a door open for an elderly person or a parent with full hands following behind you at the store
  • Acknowledge a passerby with a smile or compliment
  • Clean up a spot in the park or lot from litter 
  • Collect items for the food pantry
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter 
  • Give someone a hug!
  • Pour coffee at a meeting or church group 

In our insanely fast paced culture, it is so easy to get caught up in the race of life and neglect some of the most important values of being human. Negativity and distraction are always available at our fingertips, however if making a difference is as simple as a small act of kindness that trips the domino effect to positively impact our own spirits and those of countless others, then what we waiting for? For more information on opportunities to engage in your community visit https://www.volunteermatch.org.

Laura McCaughey, Program Facilitator

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, give us a call at the Top of the World Ranch in Milan, Illinois. Come join us at our beautiful ranch. Give us a call at (844) 814-8885 or email help@topoftheworldranch.com.