Why Kindness Should Be Taught in Schools
By Lisa Currie
Most people have heard the phrase 'random acts of kindness', which refers to a selfless act of giving resulting in the happiness of another person. Terms like this are increasing in popularity around the world, as more people identify a deficiency in their lives that can only be fulfilled by kindness.
It seems we just can't get enough of those addictive feel good emotions and with good reason.
Research shows that performing even the smallest act of kindness can beneficially impact on not just the receiver, but the giver and onlooker as well. People experience a 'helpers high' when they do a good deed, a rush of endorphins that creates a lasting sense of pride, wellbeing and an enriched sense of belonging.
There are so many benefits to kindness it's hard to list them all, but here are a some great reasons why it should be part of every child's day, not just at home but at school too.
- Happy Children
Being kind activates areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection and trust, which enhances feelings of joyfulness and boosts happiness in everyone involved.
- Reduced Depression
Altruism causes an increase of serotonin in the brain, a chemical substance that acts like a natural anti-depressant. It heightens our sense of well being, increases energy and gives a wonderful feeling of positivity and self worth.
- Improved Health & Less Stress
It's widely documented that kindness has a number of physical and mental health benefits, and that it can significantly increase a person's level of happiness. Being kind creates positive emotions that reduce stress and boost the immune system to protect against disease.
- Greater Sense of Belonging & Improved Self Esteem
Even small acts of kindness help children form connections with others which in turn create a sense of belonging and increases optimism and self worth.
- Increased Feelings of Gratitude
When children are part of projects that help others less fortunate than themselves, it provides them with a real sense of perspective and helps them appreciate the good things in their own lives.
- Better Concentration & Improved Results
Kindness increases serotonin, which plays an important part in learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion. It is a key factor that helps children feel good. Having a positive outlook allows them to have greater attention spans and enables more creating thinking to produce better results at school.
- Less Bullying
Traditional anti-bullying programs generally focus on the negative actions we don't want our children to display and often with little impact, but it's documented that the effects of bullying can be significantly reduced by integrating kindness based programs in schools. Teaching kindness shows children the positive behaviour that creates warm and inclusive school environments.
And if that's not enough, it's proven that kindness is contagious which means that a single act can ripple out to infect many.
About Lisa Currie
Lisa is the founder of Ripple Kindness Project, a community program and school curriculum that aims to improve social, emotional and mental health, and reduce bullying in schools through kindness.
The ongoing, primary school curriculum teaches children about their emotions and the impact their words and actions have on others, and provides opportunities for them to notice and show kindness in everyday situations.