Webster's Dictionary defines a grouch as "a habitually irritable or complaining person; a grumbler." We all know a grouch, or two. Maybe it's a co-worker, your boss, a neighbor, even a family member. Perhaps some of us are guilty of being one, at least from time-to-time. So why am I am writing about grouches today? Because February 16th of each year is National Do A Grouch Day A Favor Day. Even though we may not appreciate the grouches in our lives, we must remember that we don't always know what has caused them to be so unhappy and miserable. There's usually more to their story than we know. And don't we all deserve a little kindness, even those who aren't kind to us in return?
Here are my top five reasons why should be kind to everyone, today and everyday:
1, Kindness is inherent. We may choose to be kind but the ability and the tendency towards kindness seem to be inborn in each of us. Children as young as 1 year old can show acts of being kind. Kindness makes us feel good and appears to be part of the human (and frog) experience. Being kind is allowing our true nature to show shine through.
2. Kindness can have a positive effect on the brain. The effects of being kind can be seen on the neural circuitry of the brain. When we allow ourselves to be kind, regularly engaging in random acts of kindness, new neural pathways are created inside the brain that enhance feelings of well-being and the natural flow of the feel-good endorphins and mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. This may sound a bit like gobbledygook, but just know that when we are are kind, we feel better and our mood is elevated.
3. Kindness can actually help you live longer. It has been scientifically proven that kindness can help us live a few years more. A 2003 study conducted by Stephanie Brown at the University of Michigan, found that humans "who regularly offered practical help to others had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who did not." I'd take an extra five years...wouldn't you?
4. Kindness is contagious. When we show kindness to others, others become inspired to act in kindness. Multiple university studies have shown that seeing someone else help another person produced good feelings which, subsequently, caused them to reach out and do something altruistic themselves. That grouch you help out today may well benefit from your act of kindness and do something kind for another. It could transform his/her life.
5. Kindness makes you happier. And who doesn't want to feel happier...well, maybe that grouch in your life. But for the rest of us, happy is what we strive for. Being kind to others, as well as keeping a gratitude journal of the kindnesses that are shown to us, will significantly increase our level of happiness. I feel better already!
Kindness is one of the mot important habits we can cultivate. It is essential for a life lived creatively; one where we remain healthy...physically, mentally, and emotionally. Kindness costs little, if anything, and offers us a huge payback.
How to celebrate today? Do something nice for the grouch in your life, then watch the movies Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old men, and use #doagrouchafavorday on all your social media..
"No act of Kindness, however small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop