Advent is actually supposed to be a contemplative time, but numerous errands and a busy schedule cause stress for many people. How kindness can help.
Stress during Advent is common. The calendars are overflowing with appointments in December, cookies still need to be baked and gifts need to be bought. Very few people feel contemplative in the last few weeks of the year. Or with the holidays, grief arises again because a loved one has died. For many people, Christmas time also means that they feel sad, lonely and stressed. But there is a simple way to feel a little better: kindness.
In a survey by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 89 percent of respondents said that treating another person with kindness made them feel slightly better. And 90 percent of those surveyed feel a little better when someone shows them a friendly gesture. This can be a smile, holding the door, complimenting a stranger, or greeting them.
It can also mean donating or giving away money to someone in need. “When we feel stressed or sad, doing something for others, no matter how small, lifts our spirits,” APA President Petros Levounis said in a statement. 2,210 adults took part in the survey in October 2023.
Kindness pays off
Some studies have also looked at altruistic behavior. In 2008, researchers found that spending money on others rather than ourselves is likely to make us happier. Tian-Yi Hu and his team found that altruistic behavior makes us feel warm. Research by David R. Cregg and Jennifer S. Cheavens suggests that acts of kindness have a greater impact on our well-being than behavioral therapy techniques. The reason for this could be that friendly behavior strengthens our social bonds – and these are a factor in our well-being.
Despite all the hustle and bustle of the Advent season, it’s better to smile nicely at the sales person or hold the door for the next customer – this way everyone feels more comfortable and experiences less stress.
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I’m Caroline, a journalist and author for 24 Hours Worlds. I specialize in health-related news and stories, bringing real-world impact to readers across the globe. With my experience in journalism and writing in both print and online formats, I strive to provide reliable information that resonates with audiences from all walks of life.