6 reasons why kindness is good for usScience of Kindness Assembly

The CKM movement is about empowering our kids and giving them the tools needed to become the best individuals they can be. We understand that every school desires this for their students. We want to help! Let’s inspire them to be “World Changers” in your school, in their homes, and out in your community; by spreading some much needed Kindness!

We offer a Kindness Assembly, put on by the CKM Team.  Melissa Nelson is able to share her story  about how her family chose Acts of Kindness to diminish bullying. Melissa goes through the “6 Scientific Reasons Kindness Benefits Us”. The assembly video includes examples of cartoon characters to help involve the students. We can customize the assembly to any age group.

Contact to make arrangements: CommunityKindnessMovement@gmail.com

KINDNESS VIDEO

Kindness Video by Mrs Pocatello 2015 - Melissa Nelson

A Kindness Video was produced by Cade Sutton, an 18-year-old Youtube Film Maker.  Melissa Nelson, former Mrs. Pocatello 2015, tea,ed up with Cade to colaberate a locally produced Kindness Video that starred local Idaho students.  The Kindness Video is shown to launch Kindness Week at each school. The Assembly is all media based and engages the students.

Assembly Time Approx: 45 min.

Assembly Items Needed : Projector, Screen, and Sound System.

Community Kindness Movement Assembly

What is the “science” behind kindness?
Practicing kindness is more than just a nice thing to do; it’s also beneficial to overall well-being.
Is there actual proof that kindness improves society?
Yes, kindness is scientifically proven to boost health, happiness, and societal goodwill.
Can kindness be taught?
Yes!
Kindness, like physical and academic skills, appears to be something that is not fixed, but rather can be enhanced with training and practice.
A researcher from the University of Wisconsin says, “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others ’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” “Compassion and kindness training in schools can help children learn to be attuned to their own emotions as well as those of others, which may decrease bullying. Compassion training also may benefit people who have social challenges such as social anxiety or antisocial behavior.”
—Richie Davidson, Neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison
happier1) Kindness makes us happier.

When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good. On a spiritual level, many people feel that this is because it is the right thing to do and so we’re tapping into something deep and profound inside us that says, “This is who I am.”

On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, so we get a natural high, often referred to as “Helper’s High.”

How can kindness increase happiness?
“People who engage in kind acts become happier over time…When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person –more moral, optimistic, and positive.” — Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology, UC Riverside.
Researcher Elizabeth Dunn found that those who spend money on others reported much greater happiness than those who spend it on
themselves. The act of helping another person triggers activity in the caudate nucle us and anterior cingulate
cortex regions of the brain, the parts involved in pleasure and reward. That is, serving others
may produce the same sort of pleasure as gratifying a personal desire.

 

healthier heart2) Kindness gives us healthier hearts.

Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain and throughout the body. Of much recent interest is its significant role in the cardiovascular system.

Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure, and therefore oxytocin is known as a “cardio-protective” hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness can produce oxytocin, and therefore kindness can be said to be cardio-protective.

How can kindness improve your health?

Volunteering results in more health benefits than exercising or quitting smoking. “Helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a helper’s high.” —Stephen Post, Author,“The Hidden Gifts of Helping”.
People who volunteer live a longer more satisfied life.“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older w ho volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” — Christine Carter, Author“ Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”.
 slows aging

 

3) Kindness slows aging.

Aging on a biochemical level is a combination of many things, but two culprits that speed the process are free radicals and inflammation, both of which result from making unhealthy lifestyle choices.

But remarkable research now shows that oxytocin (which we produce through emotional warmth) reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and thus slows aging at its source. Incidentally, these two culprits also play a major role in heart disease, so this is also another reason why kindness is good for the heart.

There have also been suggestions in the scientific journals of the strong link between compassion and the activity of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, in addition to regulating heart rate, also controls inflammation levels in the body in what is known as the inflammatory reflex. One study that used the Tibetan Buddhist loving kindness meditation found that kindness and compassion did, in fact, reduce inflammation in the body, mostly likely due to its effects on the vagus nerve.

relationships
4) Kindness builds and strengths relationships.

This is one of the most obvious points. We all know that we like people who show us kindness. This is because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people, so we feel more “bonded.” It’s something that is so strong in us that it’s actually a genetic thing. We are wired for kindness.

Our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate with one another. The stronger the emotional bonds within groups, the greater the chances of survival, so “kindness genes” were etched into the human genome.

Today, when we are kind to each other, we feel a connection, and new relationships are forged, or existing ones strengthened.

“Kindness can jump start a cascade of positive social consequences. Helping others leads people to like you, appreciate you, to offer gratitude. It also may lead people to reciprocate in your times of need. Helping others can satisfy a basic human need for connecting with others, winning you smiles, thankfulness, and valued friendship.”
—Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of California, Riverside.

change of heart

5) Kindness can perform a Change of Heart.

Melissa will share a personal story and how the Kindness T-Shirts evolved.

Genuine Kindness, can truly perform a Change of Heart.

“Only when we quit seeing each other in such self-justifying ways can lasting, substantial changes take place. In other words, it is not until we quit looking to the other for change, begin to be honest about ourselves, and take responsibility for our own behavior that a change of heart can take place. Honesty about our own weaknesses leads to a more compassionate view of others.” – A Change of Heart: Key to Harmonious Relationships  By: C. Richard Chidester.

contagious
6) Kindness is contagious.
Can kindness really illicit change, and how?
Yes, because kindness is contagious. Acts of kindness have a positive three-way effect:
There’s the positive effect on the recipient, and the positive effect on you —you might find yourself experiencing the positive emotion of the ‘helper’s high.’ But perhaps the biggest effect of all will be on a passer-by who just happens to witness the act
When we’re kind, we inspire others to be kind, and it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends — to three degrees of separation. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards, touching others’ lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes.

A recent scientific study reported than an anonymous 28-year-old person walked into a clinic and donated a kidney. It set off a “pay it forward” type ripple effect where the spouses or other family members of recipients of a kidney donated one of theirs to someone else in need. The “domino effect,” as it was called in the New England Journal of Medicine report, spanned the length and breadth of the United States of America, where 10 people received a new kidney as a consequence of that anonymous donor.

 

The Story of Kyle

kyle's story

This is a story of friendship and how one small act of kindness can change someone else’s life forever.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. It looked like he was carrying all of his books.

I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend the next afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about 10 feet from him.

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I had never hung out with a private school kid before.

His name was Kyle. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going to study business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

On graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous.

Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began.

“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach … but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.” I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.”

 

References:

The information on the effects of kindness on the heart and the aging process can be found in my book, “Why Kindness Is Good for You” (Hay House, 2010).

The link between compassion and the vagus nerve is explored in the book “Born to Be Good,” by Dacher Keltner (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2009).

 

 

 

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