World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day: Why It Matters and How To Get Involved

Every year on November 13th, people come together to celebrate World Kindness Day. 

This event highlights the essential role of kindness, compassion, and empathy in our daily lives. Born in 1998 from the World Kindness Movement (WKM), this day unites millions in their quest for a kinder, more empathetic society.

The day emphasizes how kindness can positively influence mental and emotional well-being, urging us to extend kindness to people, animals, and our environment.

By echoing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), World Kindness Day bolsters awareness and support for this crucial mission.

World Kindness Day, therefore, inspires us to be kinder to ourselves, to others, and our precious planet, paving the way for meaningful change.

Featured in: November - Awareness Months, Days & Observances

International Kindness Day - History and Background

3 boys smiling
Photo by Mareko Tamaleaa on Unsplash

Rooted in the Tokyo Kindness Conference of 1997, World Kindness Day emerged when representatives from several international kindness organizations united to build a global platform for promoting the positive power of kindness. 

On November 13, 1998, the World Kindness Movement launched and formally established the day, striving to spark acts of kindness worldwide. Today, over 28 countries enthusiastically celebrate the occasion, with the United States, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates among them.

The purpose of World Kindness Day is “to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us.”

The history of World Kindness Day features key individuals, such as Dr. Wataru Mori, a Japanese psychiatrist who laid the foundation for the global kindness movement. Dr. Mori's life mission, which began in 1963 with the founding of the Small Kindness Movement in Japan, inspired countless people to spread kindness. 

Another influential figure, Michael Lloyd-White, formerly served as the General Secretary of WKM and now chairs World Kindness Australia. Lloyd-White's passionate involvement has expanded the movement's reach, garnering worldwide attention.

Since its inception, World Kindness Day has marked several significant milestones. For instance, Singapore achieved a world record in 2009 by organizing the largest online mass pledge of kindness. Meanwhile, the Kindness for Kids Foundation in Australia introduced the "Kindness Awards" initiative in 2012, honoring individuals and organizations for their compassionate deeds. 

In 2015, the United Nations officially acknowledged the WKM and its tireless efforts, further solidifying the importance of promoting kindness around the globe. Over the years, World Kindness Day has evolved to encompass a week-long World Kindness Week, celebrated in the second week in November. 

The Cause and Its Challenges

Kindness is a superpower
Photo by Andrew Thornebrooke on Unsplash

World Kindness Day tackles the growing issue of societal divisions and intolerance by urging individuals to embrace kindness and compassion daily. 

This global initiative aims to forge connections with others, regardless of their background or beliefs, by asking people to look beyond their prejudices and biases. 

Nonetheless, the rise of technology and social media presents significant challenges in promoting kindness. As online interactions increasingly replace face-to-face communication, the opportunities to express kindness in more traditional ways have dwindled. 

Furthermore, the veil of anonymity offered by the internet has given rise to negative behaviors, such as cyberbullying, making fostering a kind and considerate society even more challenging.

The absence of kindness doesn't just tarnish social interactions - it also has profound consequences on mental health and well-being. The World Health Organization identifies depression as the leading cause of disability globally. 

Acts of kindness and empathy are essential weapons in the battle against mental health issues, as studies have shown that social support is crucial for maintaining overall psychological well-being4.

Think about the last time someone's small act of kindness made you feel appreciated; it's this kind of support that World Kindness Day seeks to amplify. By striving to overcome these challenges and foster a more compassionate world, World Kindness Day aims to improve the quality of life for everyone.

  • Did you know that showing kindness can significantly enhance your happiness and well-being?2 Research has found that performing acts of kindness releases those feel-good hormones3, like oxytocin and endorphins, which lead to increased happiness, reduced stress, emotional warmth, and even improved physical health.
  • Kindness has a remarkable ripple effect. When people witness or experience acts of kindness, they often feel inspired to "pay it forward" and extend generosity to others. As a result, empathetic and supportive communities form, creating a network of individuals who genuinely care for one another.
  • Integrating elements of kindness and empathy into school curricula has yielded impressive results. By teaching these values from a young age, we can reduce instances of bullying, boost academic performance, and help develop crucial social skills among students. This shows the power of nurturing a kind mindset early on1.
  • Kindness has a unique ability to bridge gaps and build trust within communities. Acts of kindness bolster cooperation, break down barriers, and foster social cohesion. Encouraging these acts enables us to create a more inclusive, understanding, and harmonious society.
  • Never underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness, especially on those grappling with mental health challenges or feelings of loneliness. Even a simple gesture can provide a much-needed connection and support, significantly contributing to mental and emotional well-being.

Efforts and Initiatives

Many global initiatives have been nurturing the spirit of kindness and compassion. 

Take the World Kindness Movement (WKM), an international coalition of like-minded organizations. These groups join forces to foster kindness through events, conferences, and workshops, creating a robust platform for members to share resources, ideas, and strategies.

Furthermore, organizations like the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation promote annual campaigns like "Random Acts of Kindness Week," which have significantly promoted empathy. This US-based nonprofit inspires people to perform kind acts, asking them to share their stories on social media, creating a ripple effect of positivity.

Likewise, Australia's "Kind July" campaign, orchestrated by the nonprofit Stay Kind, emphasizes the importance of kindness and its influence on mental health and well-being.

In education, the UK's Kindness Campaign has been hard at work cultivating a culture of empathy within schools. One of their initiatives, "Kindness Matters," provides educational programs and workshops to instill kindness and compassion in young students. 

How to Get Involved and Support World Kindness Day

Boy waving kindness flag
Photo by Ron Lach

World Kindness Day presents many possibilities for those ready to embrace positivity and foster change in their community. 

To kick off your involvement, try carrying out random acts of kindness throughout the day. Other simple ideas include sending kindness cards to someone. These gestures can range from offering a genuine compliment to lending a hand to someone in need. The beauty of these acts is that they brighten the recipient's day and inspire those around you to follow your example.

Social media can be a powerful tool for raising awareness about the importance of kindness. By sharing relevant content, stories of personal experiences, or even uplifting quotes and positive messages. 

You can also highlight good deeds done by others, and don’t forget to use hashtags like #WorldKindnessDay and #MakeKindnessTheNorm, and you can help the message reach a wider audience. This, in turn, helps amplify the impact kindness can have on society as a whole. Feel free to take inspiration from our happiness quotes and share the graphics we’ve produced. 

Taking the plunge into kindness doesn't have to stop at individual acts; you can also team up with local charities or non-profit organizations as a volunteer. This type of involvement allows you to make a tangible contribution to a cause you're passionate about, all while gaining real-world experience in community outreach. 

At the same time, consider deepening your understanding of kindness and its effect on mental health and well-being by exploring articles, books, and documentaries that shed light on the subject. Sharing these insights with your loved ones can encourage them to incorporate more kindness into their daily routines. And for words of encouragement from those with lived experience, check out our mental health quotes

Finally, why not bring the spirit of World Kindness Day to your workplace or school? Organizing or participating in events such as empathy workshops, compassion seminars, or community projects can help spread kindness more effectively. 

Conclusion

World Kindness Day is vital in reminding us of the immense power that compassion and empathy hold in our lives. When we raise awareness about the importance of kindness, we pave the way for a more supportive and united global community. We all must pause and appreciate the actual value of kindness, seeking ways to uplift the lives of those around us.

After all, even the most seemingly insignificant gestures can leave a lasting impact. As we celebrate World Kindness Day, let's commit to weaving acts of kindness into the fabric of our daily lives, setting positive examples for others. By sharing our experiences and encouraging one another, we strengthen the bonds within our communities.

World Kindness Day FAQs

1. When did World Kindness Day Start?

World Kindness Day began on November 13, 1998, introduced by the World Kindness Movement to promote kindness and compassion globally.

2. What is World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day is an international observance celebrated on November 13th each year. It is a day dedicated to promoting kindness and encouraging individuals to improve the world by spreading love, compassion, and empathy.

3. Why is World Kindness Day important?

World Kindness Day is important because it promotes the idea that kindness has the power to change the world. It reminds us that small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone's life and encourages us all to be more compassionate and empathetic toward others.

4. How can I participate in World Kindness Day?

There are many ways to participate in World Kindness Day. You can perform acts of kindness such as volunteering your time, donating to charity, or simply offering a smile to someone who needs it. You can also spread awareness about the day and encourage others to participate by sharing your own acts of kindness on social media or by starting a kindness challenge.

5. What are some benefits of practicing kindness?

Practicing kindness has many benefits, including improved mental health, increased happiness, and stronger relationships. It can also have a ripple effect, inspiring others to be kind and creating a more positive and compassionate community.

6. How can I make kindness a part of my daily life?

Making kindness a part of your daily life can be as simple as performing small acts of kindness, such as holding the door open for someone or complimenting a coworker. You can also make a conscious effort to be more empathetic and understanding towards others or by volunteering your time or donating to charity.

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1

Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Kindness counts: Prompting prosocial behavior in preadolescents boosts peer acceptance and well-being. PloS one, 7(12), e51380.

2

Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J. et al. Happy People Become Happier through Kindness: A Counting Kindnesses Intervention. J Happiness Stud 7, 361–375 (2006).

3

Post, S.G. Altruism, happiness, and health: it’s good to be goodInt. J. Behav. Med. 12, 66–77 (2005).

4

Helliwell, J.F., Huang, H. & Wang, S. Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Crisis. J Happiness Stud 15, 145–162 (2014).

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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