The loveliest thing happened to me a few weeks ago…
I finished a gruesome workout at Orange Theory Fitness Kensington called “Unrest”, and with my legs shaking, I walked home, anticipating picking up a large coffee as a treat for surviving my first workout in far too long…I ordered my coffee at my local coffee shop and then when I went to pay, their machine pooped out on me – no matter what card I tried, my transaction just wouldn’t go through. I promised the baristas that I would come back and “make good” on what I owed as I wasn’t carrying any cash on me.
As I was dressing my coffee, another customer tapped me on the shoulder and said – “don’t worry about your bill, I covered it”. I was shocked and surprised at her lovely gesture – her random act of kindness. I thanked her profusely, and she said to just “pay it forward”, as it’s the little gestures that give us all hope and happiness in this sometimes-crazy world.
As I walked home reflecting on her gesture, I couldn’t help but smile, and have a bit of skip to my step (even though my legs were already killing me from my workout). The next day, I went back to that same coffee shop and bought my coffee and three $10 gift cards and I waited for three strangers to walk in so that I could “pay it forward”. And you know what? Clichés aside, it felt even better to give than it did to receive. Seeing the expressions of unexpected delight cross their faces was the very best feeling in the world.
According to Wikipedia, a random act of kindness (RAoK) is “a selfless act performed by kind people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to make people happier” (side note: even the definition made me smile).
It got me thinking, why does performing a random act of kindness elicit such feel-good feelings? And the short answer is, science J According to a 2016 study, performing random acts of kindness boosts your mood and overall well-being more than an act of treating yourself. And according to Psychology Today, ““the positive energy that you feel from doing a good deed can act on your body in much the same way that exercise does, releasing endorphins that make you feel good naturally. That’s why the ‘rush’ that good deed-doers sometimes experience after performing an altruistic act is referred to as the ‘helper’s high’” Further, research suggests that performing or witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin which helps to lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health. Ergo, performing or witnessing acts of kindness is scientifically proven to be good for your health!
So, my challenge to you is spread kindness at your workplace by asking every team member to perform a random act of kindness for another team member and then sit back, and watch the creativity and kindness spread J And if you’re short on ideas, here are a few that I came up with:
- Leave enough money in the vending machine for the next person to get a free treat
- Surprise a co-worker with a coffee or a packed lunch
- Handwrite a ‘thank you’ note to a co-worker telling them how much you appreciate him or her.
- Surprise an employee (that reports to you) by telling them to leave two hours early on a Friday
- Do an unpleasant task without being asked (i.e. clean out the office fridge, even when it’s not your turn)
Looking for more fun challenges to implement in your workplace? Contact Salopek & Associates and speak to one of our professional Associates who can assist in building a workplace culture to help boost moral and that is customized to your organization!