Recently while I was at Brocks Fall Preview Day, I got to meet someone I have always wanted to: Boomer the Badger.
Naturally I wanted a memento of the moment, however I have never learned how to take selfies. Just as I wondered what to do, a stranger walked over and offered to take our photo. I was thrilled, and now I have seven gorgeous photos of Boomer and myself to treasure during my Brock years. After I thanked the stranger, she just smiled, gave me back my cell phone, waved and left. On the way home I thought about my day’s experiences. I decided to do some research about how kindness can impact people and I was a little surprised at what I discovered.
As it turns out, kindness helps create happiness in both the recipient and the giver. It allows all those involved in the exchange to obtain a spiritual moment based upon the concept of caring and integration with others. It also creates a broadened social network for both parties, in part because it allows the formation of a new social bond between people with an unintended benefit.
Like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ heart, as more people observe and join in, a cascading effect begins. There is also evidence that it helps reduce stress, and helps lift those who receive the kindness out of their stressors. It is as if we have an inherent need to love and give.
The brain prefers thoughts that are caring as opposed to thoughts that are unkind or cruel. Hormones are released following caring thoughts or actions that influence our bodies in multiple ways. We feel all warm and fuzzy after holding a door open for the person with a bunch of pizza boxes stacked high, even if we may be inclined to want one of those delicious slices. The act of giving actually removes our regular inclinations from us. This in turn acts as a de-stressor in our lives.
I met so many people during Fall Preview Day, each one eager to tell their tales of their Brock experience. I realized that they were not doing this solely because it was their job. They did it because they cared. I have vivid memories of my day and it has occurred to me that in reality the one thing I truly regret most is that Random Acts of Kindness Day happens only once a year. It would be wonderful if we could incorporate this concept more into our lives, both on campus and off.
Perhaps what Brock could do is have an Appreciation Day. A day where we all appreciate each other; faculty, administration, visitors and staff included. It would make a regular day something more special for all, and allow everyone to come together and celebrate our unique Brock community. It would also likely convince Boomer to emerge from his Badgers Den, and merge his animal spirit with ours. We as a community have lots to celebrate and discover about ourselves and our world. It is my devout hope for all of us Badgers that regardless of the time remaining in our tenure as Brock students, that it is one of utmost happiness and fruitful. Surgite!
-Jennifer Nixon, Contributor