By Michael Caruso I wanted to offer a brief supplement to Kate And David’s wonderful DBR piece posted below. We’ve all seen the “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” bumper sticker. Why do we have to be reminded to be kind, and why is kindness in such short supply? An expert has “found that kindness can be a real hard sell. People desire kindness yet often feel inconvenienced by the thought of being kind.”
New findings published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, however, demonstrate the power of even small acts of kindness. Researchers found that people who perform a random act of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it. And they believe that miscalculation could hold many of us back from doing nice things for others more often.
Not only are small acts of kindness meaningful to the recipients, but they also are beneficial to the givers. Other studies suggest that affiliative behavior may be an important component of coping with stress and indicate that engaging in prosocial behavior might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress on emotional functioning. Sounds like a win-win.