World Kindness Day reminds us how to behave benevolently

World Kindness DayNovember 13 is World Kindness Day, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on how performing acts of kindness can not only improve the lives of others but your own as well.

Performing acts of kindness can help reduce stress, improve your sense of well being, increase self-esteem and, by focusing on the needs of others, help you forget your own problems. And, overall, it will just make you feel better.

Scientific evidence for “helper’s high”

In fact, there is scientific evidence that supports this. Psychologists call it the “helper’s high.” When you do good things for others, your brain releases endorphins, the same chemicals released during exercising. These endorphins make you feel good and can improve your outlook on life – something that those in reentry can use as they face the challenges of a job search or getting their lives back together again after incarceration.

Some acts of kindness you can perform

Acts of kindness can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be so-called random acts of kindness, like:

  • Giving up your seat on a bus to an elderly or pregnant passenger.
  • Shoveling snow for a neighbor who can’t do it themself.
  • Cooking a meal for someone who is going through difficult times.
  • Preparing a sandwich or other snack to give to a homeless person.
  • Calling a friend or relative you haven’t talked to for a while.
  • Taking some cookies or other treats to a new neighbor.
  • Picking up trash in your neighborhood.

Beyond random acts, you can do good on a regular basis by becoming a volunteer. Volunteering will not only widen your circle of contacts as you search for a job, but it can also teach you new skills and provide experience you may be able to include on your resume.

In addition, it can make you feel better and more energetic, traits that will boost your well being as you search for a job. In a Harris Interactive national survey of 3,351 adults, conducted from February 9-18, 2013 on behalf of United HealthGroup:

  • 76% of people who had volunteered within the previous 12 months reported that the experience of volunteering made them feel healthier.
  • 94% of those who had volunteered within the previous 12 months reported that the experience of volunteering improved their minds.

Whether you’re interested in walking dogs at an animal shelter, organizing donations at a food bank or recruiting volunteers for a fundraising event, sign up to volunteer. It may put you one step closer towards finding a job.