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Superintendent Proclaims November as Kindness Month

 

At the last School Board meeting, Superintendent Robert Manahan declared November 2020 as Kindness Month in the Snoqualmie Valley School District.  This coincides with World Kindness Day on November 13, and a local campaign that the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network is promoting, called #Be KindSV, as part of a Youth Suicide Prevention program.

 

Dr. Manahan explained that kindness aligns with our district’s Strategic Plan and Portrait of the Graduate, in which Empathy is a key characteristic we believe all students need to be prepared for and successful in college, career and life.

 

Kindness Month gives each of us the opportunity to raise awareness and support our community – with a reminder of how just being kind to one another not only strengthen our community, but improves our health, well-being, and overall quality of life.

 

The Snoqualmie Valley Community Network’s #BeKindSV program is designed to create a positive climate in our schools and community, by establishing a foundation of regular support for reinforcing kindness and inclusion in schools and in our community, for the goal of preventing unwanted behaviors.

 

To promote “the power of paying it forward,” they recently shared some compelling research on the many scientific benefits to being kind:

 

Kindness Increases

  • Lifespan – “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease.  People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organization have and impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more.  This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week, or going to church.” -- Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
  • Happiness – A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic – in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations – were the happiest overall.
  • Energy – “About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” -- Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center
  • Pleasure – According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed – not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

Kindness Decreases

  • Pain – Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins – the brain’s natural painkiller! -- Lizette Borreli, Medical Daily
  • Stress – Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population! -- Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 1998
  • Anxiety – A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction, and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. -- University of British Columbia Study
  • Depression – Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased. -- Dr. Stephen Post, Ph.D bioethics professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

“The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to ‘pay it forward.’ This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!” according to Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University for Scientific American (July 26, 2016).

 

To learn more about the local #BeKindSV campaign, visit: www.snoqualmievalleycommunitynetwork.org.  Also, for more information about global and national kindness programs, consider: www.theworldkindnessmovement.org/world-kindness-usa/, https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/, and https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/