A new way to start the New Year
| By Erica Marriaga, MSW, LCSW
Generous, Considerate, Caring, Charitable, Warm-Hearted. They all have similar meanings. In other words, KINDNESS. Every year, the day of kindness falls on 2/17. It is ironic that it is right around Valentine’s Day. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS WEEK is February 12-18, 2023!
Random Acts of Kindness Day was inspired by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK), a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 in Denver, Colorado. They are rooted in the beliefs that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught. They follow a simple framework for everything they do: Inspire → Empower → Act → Reflect → Share.
Showing Compassion to Others Impacts Mental Health Positively
According to Lara Honos-Webb from Psychology Today, “Did you know that doing nice things for others boosts your serotonin? Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that gives us the feeling of satisfaction and well-being. Most of the antidepressant medications work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to your brain. All of this means that doing nice things for other people changes your brain in ways that make you feel better.”
Likewise, when people are connected to one another, there is less time to think about what we might be anticipating or worrying about. There are several studies that have been conducted and the results appear to be inspiring. Baking, cooking, and spending time with others who might be less fortunate than us, believe it or not, proves to decrease anxiety and depression.
Here are some ideas on how you can be kind to others:
- Bake cookies for a friend
- Bike instead of drive
- Plant a tree
- Send a nice text to an unknown number
- Shand up for a friend
- Clean your room
- Switch to paperless mail
- Send a postcard
- Carpool to work
- Donate your old clothes to charity
- Bring toys to a children’s hospital
- Call your grandparents
- Share a recipe
- Text an old friend
- High-five a stranger
- Babysit for free
- Tell someone you love them
- Adopt a shelter pet
- Thank a teacher
- Put a bird feeder in your yard
- Write a good review for a local business
- Hug a loved one
- Hide a surprise in your favorite library book
- Congratulate a friend
- Practice patience
- Give to a homeless person
- Start a community garden
- Bring soup to a sick friend
- Compliment someone
- Thank your bus driver
- Pick up garbage on the street
And many more!
There is an abundance of ways to show kindness — to yourself, your loved ones, and the people you encounter throughout the day. Be creative and use your imagination.
If you find yourself struggling with motivation to be kind, a licensed therapist or counselor can help empower you to be your best self
Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her one-eyed rescue dog, Toby, and her puppy, Tucker. She loves to spend time with her son, husband, and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist. EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
Check out Erica’s professional bio here!
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