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Why it's Important to be Nice to Others

Random kindness is always healthy but especially now

Jeff Parrott Staff Reporter
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HOW TO BE GRATEFUL & Find Happiness with Gratitude Using Apps
 By helping others and committing random acts of kindness, we may recognize that even a small gesture can give us a sense of purpose and can help shift someone’s day, week or even life.
- Christie Kederian, a psychologist and marriage and family therapist.


Standing in line at the grocery store, with your mask heating up your face and fogging up your glasses, you might not feel so charitable.

But letting the man behind you jump ahead in line because he has far fewer items likely will make both of you feel better, and now more than ever.

Random acts of kindness benefit givers and receivers any time, but especially during a situation as stressful, traumatic, and isolating as the coronavirus pandemic, experts say.

It's Happening All Over

Americans are seeing the phenomenon play out in different ways every day. In suburban Boston, some wine lovers have formed the “Billerica, Tewksbury, and Wilmington Wine Fairies” private Facebook group, where members take turns anonymously dropping off wine to each other.

Another Facebook group, “SNORKS! (Secret Ninjas of Random Kindness), invites new members to share items from their Amazon wish lists and to buy items on other people’s lists.

“It’s a quarantine, lockdown-friendly way to pay kindness forward,” the SNORKS! page’s description reads.

Meanwhile, in Winters, Calif., Mike and Michelle McClain and their children have been leaving flower bouquets on doorsteps all over the city. The family said they were inspired by their experience as recipients from when Michelle had breast cancer and people dropped off flowers and food.

“Everybody needs a little love right now,” Mike told CNN.

Why Now?

Often, the mundane routine of quarantine lifestyle can increase feelings of isolation and hopelessness, said Christie Kederian, a psychologist and marriage and family therapist.

“People may forget about the good times and start dwelling on the negative,” Kederian said. “Quarantine fatigue may contribute to the loss of a sense of purpose. By helping others and committing random acts of kindness, we may recognize that even a small gesture can give us a sense of purpose and can help shift someone’s day, week or even life.”

Social Supports is Gone

During times of crisis and stress, social support is essential for building resilience and helping to manage the impact of the stress, said psychologist Akilah Reynolds.

“Because safety precautions are keeping us from what fundamentally helps us manage crisis, being with others,” Reynolds said, “these acts of kindness help to connect us with each other and bring a sense of love and compassion during these challenging times.”

Making Connections

Clinical psychologist Jon Reeves said being kind to others is almost always beneficial to both givers and receivers, but during a pandemic, random acts of kindness may be one of the most intimate forms of connection.

“Interpersonal communication is one of our core needs and the pandemic has devastated our ability to get it,” Reeves said. “Sure, we can connect with people online or from a distance, yet providing some kindness that directly helps someone is a concrete, immediate way to touch someone’s life. I don’t know whether kindness is better for us during a pandemic, but it seems like we can all use it more than usual, and it can’t hurt.”

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About the Writer

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