Wayne Dyer is one of my favorite authors and speakers. I have been watching him on PBS for years and I enjoy his style of sharing research, personal experience, and books to illustrate his points. Several years ago he talked about a study that looked at the affect of kindness on individuals. As I remember, the study measured the endorphins in the brain of a person that receiving a kind act, a person who was doing the kind act and a person who was witnessing the kind act. Endorphins are the opiate-like substances that produced a feeling of euphoria in the brain. When someone received a kind act the level of endorphins in the blood stream increase. If you have ever received a kind act from someone and you felt good then you understand that feeling. The person that is doing the kind act was also found to have an increase in the level of endorphins. So if you have ever felt good about doing something nice for someone you have experienced this feeling good. Surprisingly, the person who has witnessed the kind act between the giving and the receiver also had an increase in the level of endorphins. So if you see someone doing something kind then you can get a boost in your endorphins as well.
I actually had an opportunity to see this entire process unfold this weekend.
I became aware of an art exhibit called Hiroshima Children’s Drawings a few months ago. After the bombing of Hiroshima a church in Washington D.C. started a drive for art supplies to send to the children of Hiroshima who has lost everything from the bomb. The church sent ½ ton of supplies and one year later children sent some of their drawing back to the church as a thank you. Sixty years later the pictures are traveling back to Japan and the surviving children who are now in their 70’s will be reunited with their artwork from childhood. There is a woman who is the historian for the project who was not going to be able to escort the painting. I was so touched by the story that so I offered to help her raise money to go as well. I offered to teach cooking classes with all the proceeds from the class going to her travel cost.