“We rise by lifting others.” - Robert Ingersoll
According to a study in 2017, there are approximately 792 million people afflicted with mental health disorders. World Health Organization (WHO) states that one million people lose their life to suicide every year – that is 1 death every 40 seconds. In addition, the current global pandemic, against an already critical mental health landscape, has caused millions of people to live in anxiety, fear and isolation.
Mental health disorders encompass depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia and addictive behaviours. WHO states that 90% of all suicide cases are contributed by depression and substance abuse. What is important to note is that mental disorders are common; it does not discriminate, and can happen to anyone from all walks of life.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day - a day observed to raise awareness on mental health issues, address misconceptions and to show empathy to those in need. One of the easiest ways to support someone going through mental health is to be kind.
Why is kindness important?
Kindness can be defined as performing a good deed to another person, done out of love and compassion in complete selflessness and with no expectation of reciprocation. Kindness has a ripple effect. When we do good to others, there’s a high chance that the recipient is inclined to pay it forward. Say someone offers you a parking space instead of wanting it for himself, chances are, when you are given the same opportunity in another situation, you’d remember the act of kindness that was shown to you, prompting you to do the same.
Being kind has its benefits
Numerous studies have shown that being kind has positive impacts on our emotional and physical health. When we do something nice for someone else, our body automatically releases endorphins – a chemical that makes us feel happy. Being kind makes us feel good.
When someone is feeling down, a little kindness goes a long way. Here are some 15 random acts of kindness that we can do to perpetuate more kindness in our world. No matter how insignificant our actions may seem, one small deed can make a difference.
- Say thank you to our frontliners – teachers, police, nurses, fire fighters, garbage collectors – those who dedicate their lives to make ours safer and better.
- Keep an extra umbrella in the car or at work and lend it to someone who needs it.
- Give a genuine compliment to someone at work.
- Encourage someone to pursue his / her dreams. We have enough critics in the world.
- Give someone the benefit of doubt.
- Post something positive on social media.
- Call your parents. Tell them you love and miss them
- Check in with a friend who has lost a parent / spouse on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Not everyone has a reason to celebrate – those will be tough days.
- Hold the elevator. We can all afford to wait that extra minute.
- Buy flowers for a friend. Tell them how much you appreciate his / her friendship.
- Feed a furry friend. Keep pet food in your car to feed stray cats and dogs.
- Put together a car package (food and toiletries) and give it to someone in need.
- Be an organ donor.
- Help your neighbour with their groceries.
- Smile. It’s the easiest way to brighten someone else’s day.