The importance of being kind — today and every day

November 13, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources, ,

Today is World Kindness Day — a day to reflect on the impact that kindness can have on your own well-being and the well-being of others.

According to the experts in MHealthy, research shows that kindness helps improve your mood and enhances your capacity for facing daily challenges. Kindness and gratitude can also build trust and strengthen your work team to facilitate creativity, innovation, engagement and collaboration.

All of those perks are especially important this year, as faculty, staff and learners handle the stress of COVID-19, changing routines, a contentious political season and social unrest.

So what are some easy ways to spread kindness, both at home or at work? Here are just a few:

  • Send a message or eCard: An uplifting email or text to a colleague, friend or family member can go a long way. At Michigan Medicine specifically, visit the new recognition website to find Kindness Day eCards that you can virtually deliver to a coworker.
  • Be intentional: Seek out time to laugh or connect with someone. Perhaps it’s through a TV show or sporting event. During your next team meeting mention how you watched a coworker’s recommended show or say “I saw your favorite team won last night.” Recognizing interests of others helps build relationships and allows others to feel seen and heard.
  • Keep in touch: Maybe there’s a friend, former coworker, mentor or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. In 2020, a lot of people are feeling isolated and hearing from you could brighten their day, week, month or year.
  • Treat someone: Try buying someone a gift card to Starbucks to help them get through the tough mornings or Door Dash to get them through a busy dinner hour. (Or something from Amazon. Because you can never have too many Prime packages…)
  • Donate time, money or more: Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a local food pantry or find a winter clothing drive where you can donate your gently used coats. These small steps will make the community a better place for everyone.
  • Try something new: You should try going slightly outside your comfort zone in order to lift someone else’s spirits. This doesn’t have to be too difficult. Perhaps making sure you smile, wave and say hello on a walk outside, taking out the garbage for an elderly neighbor or letting someone in while waiting in traffic. You’ll be amazed by how good it feels afterward.

So go ahead and try one or two — or more — of these acts today and every day moving forward.

As Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you have performed an act of kindness, please share below or send to headlines@med.umich.edu.

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