"Kindness is a gift anyone can afford to give."
Have you ever noticed how you pick up on the mood around you? If someone at work or school is complaining, you might join in with your own gripes. If the room is filled with tired, yawning people, you may find yourself longing for your bed. You hear a funny laugh and find yourself joining in, without knowing the punchline. There’s a fancy name for this: social contagion.
The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology defines social contagion as “the spread of ideas, attitudes, or behaviour patterns in a group through imitation and conformity.” This concept builds on how illness or disease spreads. If you sneeze into your hand and don’t wash it and shake someone else’s hand, the germs get passed along. In a social contagion setting the action is the germ. So what happens if we commit ourselves to spreading kindness?
A 2016 Scientific American article delved into this, and highlighted that “people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them.” So with kindness, not only will recipients want to pass kindness on, their levels of happiness and empathy - the spirit underlying the action - is passed along too.
Ready for a challenge? Over the next week we want to see your kindness in action. Wondering what to do?
On February 14, we’ll enter all the names from the posts into a draw, with the winner receiving a HeartBeatsHate prize pack.
And keep your eyes peeled! This week we’ll be out and about across Waterloo Region rising to our own challenge raising awareness of HeartBeatsHate and showing that #kindnessmatters.
In Free to Give we wrote about the benefits of giving and receiving kindness. At HeartBeatsHate, we want to put this to the test by finding ways to engage with and give back to our community. This Valentine’s Day we want to see just how far kindness can spread. We know you’ve got what it takes, so why not join us and make the world a little better, one small act of kindness at a time? We can’t wait to see how you show HeartBeatsHate.