According to the American Physiological Society, kindness can lead to improved health. A single act of kindness can change the world. Peacemakers have come and gone throughout earth’s history, but few have matched the reputation of Mohandas Gandhi. He lived as a legend in his own time, and his legacy lives on in those who pursue generating the attribute of kindness.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever,” Mohandas Gandhi said.
Gandhi, called Mahatma, which is Sanskrit for “the great-souled one,” experienced imprisonment during his lifetime due to his campaigns for nonviolent resistance of the British rule in India. He recognized the suffering of his people in forced dependence, and advocated for the economic freedom of India.
Individual lives, in much the same way, are affected by oppression. People can carry the weight of many troubles in everyday life, like the stories from books being played out in real time. Some are poor. Some are abused. Others have the money they need, but suffer from loneliness and isolation. Throughout the ages, humanity has been touched by the frailty of its scars.
One hand reaching out to the shadows can be a light to tell the one in darkness to rise up and come away to a higher place. It’s been said that it only takes one person’s act of kindness toward another to change the course of history. It only takes one person to believe in another to give strength, hope, and endurance.
It’s one voice saying, “You can stand on your own.”
Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, visited Pierce College in January 2010. He spoke and inspired like a light reaching out in darkness. He described nonviolence as an honest and diligent pursuit of truth.
“Violence has two children,” Gandhi said, “the physical and passive forms.”
He compared passive violence to gasoline and physical violence to fire. In the same way gasoline may ignite fire, things like gossip, name-calling and disrespect can fuel anger and promote physical violence. Gandhi explained the importance of self-identification and looking at one’s own tendency toward passive violence to change it.
Sharing kindness with others is one of the simplest ways to change the world. A word or deed of kindness can change one person’s life forever. It’s something everyone can do, and it’s as easy as a smile or an outstretched hand.
Here are five fun facts about smiles discovered by British researchers:
1. Smiles can increase life span.
2. Children smile an average of 400 times a day.
3. One smile has the same chemical effect on a person’s brain as eating 2,000 chocolate bars.
4. The brain responds to a smile the same way it responds to 16,000 pounds sterling ($25,000 American).
5. If a smile can make you that rich, why not try it? There’s nothing to lose.
Practicing random acts of kindness can lead to a longer, healthier, and happier life. Kindness increases dopamine in the brain. In other words, if someone wants to get high in the truest sense of the word, help someone else. Emotional warmth produces nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. It increases peace and extends relationships. Try practicing random acts of kindness for your health and the health of those you love.
Here are 10 ways to practice kindness:
1. Hold the door open for someone.
2. Study for a test with someone.
3. Give someone a sandwich.
4. Write someone a poem.
5. Pick up trash.
6. Volunteer at a food bank.
8. Say hello to a stranger.
9. Let someone cut in line.
10. Fill someone’s instant ramen noodle snack with hot water.
Everyone reading this is still living and learning. It’s not too late to carry on Gandhi’s legacy and share an act of kindness today.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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