The world can seem like a really cruel place sometimes. And as individuals we often want to make a positive difference in anyway we can.
But we also get discouraged easily.
We see war, violence, poverty, rape, starvation, abuse, and disease at every turn, and we feel like there’s little we can do to try and change these negative aspects of our world.
However, as it turns out, our acts of kindness and good deeds may have a larger impact on the world than we initially thought.
According to a 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have shown that generosity can be highly contagious.
In other words, when we act kindly toward one person, that person is much more likely to be kinder toward others in the future.
When researchers had participants play a game that rewarded greed, they found that a single act of kindness could produce dozens more.
For example, if you’re nice to John in Round 1, he’d be more likely to be nice to Kristen in Round 2, and they both would be more likely to be nice in Round 3, and so on.
This creates a ripple effect of kindness. It starts as a single act, but then spreads outward affecting many more.
It’s good to know that our acts of kindness don’t only affect the people we do nice things for, but many other people who we may never even come into contact with.
This shows that our actions can have a real and long-lasting affect on the world, even if they start off very small.
The bigger truth is that if we are going to build a more positive world then it has to start somewhere. So why can’t you be part of the catalyst?
Of course some people are just more naturally kind than others, but we all have the capacity to rewire our brains to be more kind. So we all have a chance to make a positive difference.
Begin practicing kindness more on a daily basis, and you can make incalculable changes over the course of your life.
And best of all, kindness doesn’t only benefit the recipients, it also benefits the givers. Doing acts of kindness on a regular basis has shown to be linked to increased mental health and happiness. That’s just one more good reason to be a nicer person.
Check out A Roadmap to Relationships for everything you need to know on how to build healthier connections.