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“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change” – Bob Kerrey. This is just one of the many meaningful kindness quotes out there. In many people’s lives, this saying rings true, but what does it mean to you? Have random acts of kindness made a difference to your life?

The 17th of February 2020 was Random Act of Kindness Day. The day is growing in popularity and for good reason! World Kindness Day is currently celebrated by groups, businesses, and individuals all over the world. Will you participate in it this year? Will you actively participate in the various World Kindness Day activities?

Studies Prove That Showing Kindness to Others Reduces Everyday Stress Levels

Studies have proven that showing kindness towards others can boost your sense of life satisfaction and greatly deepen and strengthen your relationships. Who knew that feeling so good and getting so much value out of personal relationships requires the one thing in life that comes absolutely free!  Kindness is known to have such a positive impact on people, that institutions such as Harvard now scrutinize admission applications for prospective students showing clear signs of kindness.

A study, that was carried out at Yale University by Emily Ansell, PhD (Assistant Professor of Psychiatry), proves that simply putting in some effort to make someone else’s day better, goes a long way towards reducing your stress levels and making your own day better too. In her research, Ansell stated the following: “research shows that when we help others we can also help ourselves. Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won’t feel as poorly on stressful days”. You can read more on Ansell’s study here. On the 17th of February you can test the theory out for yourself!

What is Kindness?

What is kindness, you ask? True kindness is not just an act. It’s a real and meaningful interpersonal skill that we develop over time. One has to make a choice to be kind. But, what is it, you ask? Well, it’s not just one thing – it is many things. Kindness is a plethora of personable characteristics carefully knitted together. For instance, a kind person will be friendly, approachable, giving, and considerate towards others. A kind person will appear to have heart. He/she will be affectionate, welcoming, and gentle.

There’s nothing weak about being kind. In fact, it shows great strength of character as it requires an individual to break away from selfish thinking and to focus on noticing the troubles, discomforts, and possible unhappiness that others may be facing. It’s also about seeing and seizing an opportunity to step in and help, in whatever small way possible.

Random Acts of Kindness in a New Country

As a South African expat, you might have personally been on the receiving end of random acts of kindness along the way. You know when that stranger held the door open for you at a restaurant? That’s a random act of kindness. You know when someone noticed you were lost and offered you directions? That’s a random act of kindness. Perhaps you even had the opportunity to be involved in carrying out random acts of kindness too. Maybe you have shared some emigration advice with someone looking to make the same move as you, or maybe you have shared a great recipe with a new friend, or helped someone carry their groceries to their vehicle.

World Kindness Day Activities

What random acts of kindness or World Kindness Day activities can you get involved in to help you reduce stress and get the most out of your day too? Below are a few ideas that might inspire you – and they don’t have to cost you a thing:

  • Smile at a stranger (smile at people you know too!).
  • Let someone in ahead of you in a queue.
  • Stop talking and actually listen to someone – ask them questions and truly engage.
  • Give/gift someone a really good book that you have finished reading.
  • Go for a stroll in your neighbourhood and pick up litter as you go.
  • Welcome a new neighbour to the area or purposefully make contact with a newbie to your work (even if it’s just online).
  • Buy an extra meal or a few grocery items and give them to a homeless person.
  • Leave a bigger tip than expected.
  • Spread some positivity on social media (be funny, be quirky, make someone smile).
  • Make a friend/colleague a surprise lunchbox of treats and make sure they get to enjoy it at work. This could count as one of a few possible World Kindness Day activities at work.
  • Write a letter to 3 people who have been good to you, telling them of your appreciation (be sincere).
  • Offer to help someone (it could be to carry a bag, open a door, reach for something, go to the store, or similar).
  • Volunteer your time (this is a great one if you are new to an area/country).

You never know when one of these very acts of random kindness could end up making your day a little brighter too, so keep paying it forward – not just on February 17th!  Think of possible kindnesses shown to you when you first moved to another country and started a whole new life and consider how can you now pay it forward?

FinGlobal: Financial Emigration Specialists

There’s nothing random about our services at FinGlobal, but each of them are delivered with a double dose of kindness. The team at FinGlobal is focused on doing everything possible to ensure that your transition into a new country and community is as seamless as possible. As providers of premier financial emigration and tax emigration guidance and advice to South Africans globally, we will ensure that your integration into your new life is smooth, and that your financial and tax affairs back in South Africa are in order. If you would like professional assistance, contact us today. You can send us an email or give us a call and one of the expert consultants will liaise directly with you.