Your wellbeing: shining a light on kindness
Posted on behalf of: Internal Communications
Last updated: Thursday, 24 November 2022
Last week, the Sussex Centre for Research on Kindness (ROK) brought a focus to kindness for World Kindness Day (13th November). The ROK aims to conduct rigorous, scientific research on kindness, to help people use the science of kindness to make changes in their communities, and to bring kindness into the public narrative, to benefit people and communities who can incorporate more kindness into their lives.
As an undergraduate placement student at the ROK, I had the opportunity to shine a light on kindness by creating the “Kindness Corner”: an interactive space where people may share their thoughts on kindness, learn about kindness, and carry out kind acts in that moment.
It is currently on tour around campus, first the Student Centre, then the Meeting House, now the Library Café, and finally the Student Study Space in Pevensey 1, where it will remain until the new year. We did this to spread kindness at all ends of the campus, so that it would be impossible to miss.
The Kindness Corner includes a “A Kind Act a Day” board. It includes a variety of suggestions of simple kind acts you may do such as:
“Make a cup of tea for someone who needs one”
“Ask someone for the highlight of their day”
“Smile at everyone you see today”
Furthermore, we organised an origami class every day, with the intention of giving away your origami piece to a stranger. I have loved doing this so much. I had never made origami before, nor had I ever given something to a complete stranger. I found the process of making something very calming, as it’s a way to focus on something simple and fun and I noticed the people who joined me seeming more relaxed afterwards also.
When giving these origami pieces away, seeing people’s faces light up once they realise you are not giving them promotional material, and sometimes telling you that you have made their day, has become one of the most wholesome experiences of my life. Suddenly, I am paying more attention to strangers, wondering who needs kindness that day.
The lovely thing about it, is that everybody needs kindness, because even when I have been met with blank expressions after handing someone an origami envelope, just the thought that you may have made someone’s day slightly better feels wonderful.
The ROK collaborated with BBC Radio 4 to develop an online study called The Kindness Test. More than 60,000 people chose to take part, making it the world’s largest in-depth study on kindness so far. One of the main findings was that people who receive more kind acts have higher levels of well-being, as expected.
However, results also showed that people who do more kind acts, and even just notice that other people are doing kind acts, also have higher levels of well-being. During the winter period, I haven’t always felt that there was much kindness at Sussex, and yet I have been surrounded by it the whole time, I just didn’t know where to look. Since working on the Kindness Corner, I have learnt that not only are there many lovely people at Sussex, but that doing small acts of kindness for people makes me feel more connected to human beings and the innate kind nature we all possess inside of us.
Kerry Moor, Placement Student (Psychology)