Kindness Gives Birth To Kindness
There, sits a homeless man on the sidewalk. He has done nothing wrong; still, he is accosted by a passerby in view of others including children. No one, not the man, the aggressor or the bystanders, is any better or happier as a result of the impromptu, one-sided exchange. Even worse, the negative experience won’t soon be forgotten.
We are more likely to notice and remember negative experiences over positive experiences, according to Laura Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University. Psychologists think it’s a survival mechanism. Carstensen says, “It’s more important for people to notice the lion in the brush than it is to notice the beautiful flower that’s growing on the other side of the way.”
If what we see sets the tone or mood and what we notice most often are negative experiences, what does that mean for us and society? Given the news and social media of late, no amount of cute cat and dog videos can undo the damage. However, kindness can change the trajectory of your mood and day.
The Mental Health Foundation out of the U.K. reports that “kindness has been shown to improve mood while increasing self-esteem, empathy and compassion.” According to the foundation, “kindness can decrease blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone, which directly impacts stress levels.”
“Kindness is more than behaviour,” reports the Mayo Clinic, adding, “kindness means harbouring a spirit of helpfulness, as well as being generous and considerate, and doing so without expecting anything in return.”
In other words, it’s better to give than to receive. It feels good to give. Hopefully you know the feeling. Now you can share that feeling with someone close to you.
Haven Toronto, a downtown drop-in centre, has introduced the ‘GiveCard’, a gift card you give someone to shop in the charity’s online store in support of elder men impacted by poverty and homelessness.
Lauro Monteiro, Executive Director of Haven Toronto says, “We are often asked, ‘How can I help?’ The ‘GiveCard’ is one answer. The card helps to ensure that our clients have access to hot and healthy meals and emergency clothing.”
Available at www.shophaventoronto.ca, “the ‘GiveCard’ demonstrates kindness and teaches the importance of charity,” adds Monteiro. He continues, “You can give the gift of giving, get a tax receipt and that good feeling that comes with being selfless – an experience you won’t soon forget.”
Haven Toronto is the only drop-in centre in Canada dedicated to elder homeless men. Last year, Haven Toronto served a record number of meals – over 108,000 – up 260 percent over pre-pandemic numbers. Many of the meals are donated through the centre’s online store.