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This School Program Teaches Kindness And Empathy

Let's Build A Kinder World

Today is 'World Kindness Day', an internationally recognised day of, well, kindness.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Small Kindness movement of Japan and on the same day, in 1998, the world saw the opening day of the first World Kindness Movement conference in Tokyo.

According to the Australian Kindness Movement website, the purpose of World Kindness Day is "to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world."

Katrina Cavanough, CEO and founder of Kindness On Purpose spoke to 973FM's Bianca, Terry and Bob.

"Kindness on purpose is an in-school program which uses kindness as an access point to empathy," Katrina told the co-hosts. "When we increase empathy, we decrease bullying and we decrease anxiety and depression. It just brings a much better sense of community to the school."

According to their website, when you connect children to empathy there is:

"Less bullying, lower rates of childhood depression and anxiety, reduced social isolation, increased student engagement and positive wellbeing for all children"

The purpose of the program is to create a cultural movement of being kind to one another and even though, they are only three years in, the program is in eleven schools and will be rolling out Nationally.

So why be kind to one another?

"Whenever you are kind in your daily life, an amazing thing happens to your body," she said. "The first is, the body releases oxytocin and that oxytocin actually reduces inflammation in your cardiovascular system. This means, that it slows down the ageing process, and does a lot to look after your heart."

"Kindness also increases your immunity and you get what it called a 'helper's high'. You get more serotonin and more oxytocin floating through your body."

How kind are you being to others, and also importantly to yourself?

The Australian Kindness Movement website has a 'Kindness Checklist' to help check where you are at on the kindness scale.

Kindness to Others

  • Today I smiled/said hello/nodded/waved to someone
  • Today I listened attentively when someone was talking to me
  • Today I supported someone by cheering them up, listening to their problem, etc
  • Today I told someone how much they mean to me
  • Today I phoned or sent a card/letter to someone I haven't been in contact with lately
  • Today I complimented someone about their smile, their attitude, something they'd done well, etc
  • Today I thanked everyone who did something for me, no matter how small it was
  • Today I refrained from negative judgements and gossiping
  • Today I chose to be more positive with my thoughts and words

Kindness to Yourself 

  • Today I made time to meditate, listen to relaxing music, or set aside other quiet time for myself
  • Today I had a massage, a facial, a scented bath, or pampered myself in some other way
  • Today I took a long look at the sky, or a tree, a bird, an ant, or some other, wonderful, natural thing
  • Today I thought about my uniqueness, my youthful attitude toward life, and how worthy and lovable I am

Want more information?

World Kindness Australia

Kindness on Purpose

Random Acts of Kindness Org

How will you be kind today?

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(Image courtesy of dreamanddo.com)

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