This masterful piece by comedians Key and Peele reveals a hidden, but obvious truth about bullies. They are often hurting themselves and don’t know other ways to express it. So fascinating to see this perspective played out so well.
“Seva” is sanskrit for “Selfless Service“, and is a kind of yoga practice. This came up in a conversation with Avani, the owner of Om Puerto Viejo, a yoga center and hostel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. She had some great ideas about kindness curricula for classrooms, too! Lots to think about.
Who’s the kindest of them all? Some science confirms what we maybe already knew – women are more empathetic, and people who’ve suffered loss are more likely to be compassionate towards others.
A beautiful video from Thailand showing what’s in it for you.
Last month, something beautiful happened on a Michigan football field, and it wasn’t simply a brilliant play. The players of Olivet Middle School conspired to make the day for their learning disabled new teammate, Keith Orr, by setting him up for sweet victory and literally (and figuratively) handing him the ball.
Without the knowledge or assistance of their coach, these young boys purposely took a knee at the one-yard line so that Keith could be the recipient of a touchdown pass on the next play. “Nothing can really explain getting a touchdown when you’ve never had one before,” said teammate and co-conspirator Justice Miller, explaining the joy they wanted to bestow upon their new friend.
We have a tendency to dismiss youth culture as cruel and shallow, especially in the internet age. These boys have completely flipped that idea on its head, showing kindness and compassion in a way most adults would find astonishing. Keith struggles with boundaries – often hugging friends and classmates any chance he gets – in the sweetest manner possible. These boys recognized that their new addition needed a boost of recognition and a truly positive experience at school. The boys delivered above and beyond on their secret promise, making Keith into a school celebrity. “Because he’s never been cool or popular, and he went from being, like, pretty much a nobody to making everyone’s day,” said Justice.
“I kind of went from being somebody who mostly cared about myself and my friends to caring about everyone and trying to make everyone’s day and everyone’s life,” he continued. Here, Justice highlights possibly the most important outcome of this bold act of kindness. Sharing happiness with others allows it to blossom within us. Recognizing this has changed these boys’ lives for the better, and given the adult world a beautiful example of thoughtful compassion we could all learn from.
In 2008, the British Medical Journal published the results of the Framingham Heart Study, a 20-year, 4,739 subject undertaking meant to evaluate whether happiness can spread from person to person, and whether niches of happiness can form within social networks. The findings were remarkable: clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness – and not simply a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals.
Happiness, in other words, is not merely a function of individual experience or individual choice; it is also a currency among groups of people. In fact, changes in an individual’s happiness can ripple through social networks and give rise to widespread structure in the network, birthing clusters of happy and unhappy individuals. These results are especially phenomenal considering that the spread of happiness requires close physical proximity and that the effect decays over time.
The results line up consistently with prior studies on the evolutionary basis and necessity of human emotion. Aside from their internal and psychological relevance, emotions have a distinctly social role. We humans experience emotions inside and show them outside. The emotion of happiness, the study concludes, serves the evolutionary purpose of enhancing social bonds, like laughter and smiling. These outward expressions solidify social relationships: producing, rewarding, and encouraging others through ongoing social contact. This paves the way for the understanding that great psychological, social, and biological rationales exist to vindicate the idea that social networks are extremely relevant to human happiness.
The study also bumped up against the apparent limitations of this happiness spread, reaching at most three degrees of separation, similar to the behavioral spread of obesity and smoking. Although the personal effect between individuals may be strong, there is significant decay before reaching throughout the entire network; the cascading bloom of happiness is not limitless.
One aspect of this study that will be of particular interest for future students is that the research did not allow for an indication of the actual, causal mechanics of happiness spread. A plethora of mechanisms are possible. Happy people might be adjusting their behavior toward others, sharing outward emotional displays in genuinely contagious fashion. They may simply spread their good fortunate in functional, pragmatic terms through social largesse or financial generosity. The most important takeaway here is that, however it occurs, an individual’s happiness is paramount to society’s widespread and lasting wellbeing. When someone is happy, others are too. When people share happiness, critical elements of life ranging from health to productivity contribute to the expansive nature of our understanding of quality of life.
It’s easy to be cynical when big celebs are paying for random acts of kindness, but it is a growing ‘thing’ among ordinary people.http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/24/playing-it-forward-ellen-degerneres