Random Acts of Kindness Week and Pain

Random Acts of Kindness Week and Pain

When you live with chronic pain, often it can feel difficult to survive the day, let alone put on a smile or think of ways to make other people’s day brighter. But numerous studies have indicated that when a person is kind to others, their brain’s pleasure centers light up in the same way as if the person were receiving the kindness themselves. 

This year, February 11 kicks off Random Acts of Kindness Week, which concludes with Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17 – giving people the option of performing good deeds throughout the week, or simply focusing on one special day.

Numerous studies have found that performing – or even witnessing – acts of kindness produces oxytocin, a hormone responsible for all sorts of positive things in the body, including increased self-esteem and optimism.Kindness also stimulates serotonin production, which increases calm and happiness, and is even said to help heal wounds!

Good deeds don’t have to be expensive or complicated. They can be as simple as offering a genuine compliment to someone you encounter. Offer to shovel the snowy sidewalk of a neighbor. Surprise a coworker with coffee or a treat. Pick up litter, even if it isn’t yours. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Send a care package to a soldier stationed overseas.

Performing acts of kindness also helps chronic pain patients on another level. As many people find themselves unable to maintain full-time jobs or other obligations they once held, their sense of self-worth plummets. Modern society has conditioned us to measure our “value” on what we can provide to the world around us. When someone can no longer contribute in the standard ways that most adults around them do, they become depressed, with a decreased sense of value. But of course, there are a myriad of ways that individuals can affect the world around them, even on the small (but crucial) level of positive interactions with everyone they meet. These random acts of kindness serve as a reminder of that importance.

Even those who are housebound can help make others’ lives brighter. It’s easy enough to take a moment and leave a thoughtful comment on someone’s social media or blog post (and conversely, to take a deep breath and leave the page instead of writing something hurtful or argumentative). Text a friend and let them know you’re thinking of them. If you crochet or knit, make items to donate to a hospital, foster child, animal shelter or other organization. Select a GoFundMe campaign and donate (or simply help publicize the cause).

Of course, no one is suggesting that acts of kindness in any way substitute actual pain management. But as those suffering from chronic pain know all too well, anything that might help is certainly worth a try!

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Authored by: Joanna Mechlinski

Joanna Mechlinski is a former newspaper reporter who now works in education. She is a chronic pain sufferer who lives in Connecticut and is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report. You can follow her on twitter @castlesburning.

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Ann Sable

I’ve always tried my best to be kind to others even when they weren’t so kind back. Forgiveness is key. As for those that snub me, I never react nor lower myself to that level. It’s not satisfying by any means. Humans are complex, yet so simple in many ways. Free will as it may. When I cant do for myself, I will surely try for some one else. That brings me great pleasure, even if it’s just words of encouragement, compassion and/or respecting them and their thoughts and feelings. Just like on here and with you all. You don’t have to know me nor I, you. Just knowing that humans have needs of all sorts is plenty for me. Therefore, I havent any problems with stating what I will. But it does sadden me to see how others on here attack each other, call names and curse at one another…even to the point that some will put down others due to not liking what they have said and goes as far as telling them to shut up. Those people should feel extremely ashamed of themselves and really should examine theirselves. Everyone is allowed their own opinions, thinking abilities and be who they are without judgement…for not one of us is God. Thank you for this post. It’s an excellent reminder that we all need compassion and love for one another. Gentle hugs to you all…

Debbie

This makes so much sense. My fiancé gave our gardeners two really big oversized garbage bags filled with cans. Before he got his promotion we struggled a lot. And saved cans for gas. Or extra food for the month. And I watched him pass his kindness on by giving the cans away. He really melted my heart. And I’ve felt great inside. I asked him why he did that? And he said I wanted to help someone else. I remember when we struggled and I want to help someone else. I got up and hugged him and said that’s the way to do it. Let’s pay it forward. My heArt is usually sad because I can’t do much because of pain. But now I’ll try more to do things for others. It’s a wonderful feeling. Wow. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy

I believe it’s always important to be kind to others. You never know what someone is going through. I don’t look like I have heath problems. Many people don’t look sick, they just might be.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

I have been being kind to others all my life and, yes it works to help others and takes away some of our pain.

Katie Olmstead

Only one day, or one week? I am a fan of random acts of kindness as a steady diet. It’s true that I, like many of us, cannot work in ways that traditionally would offer me the self esteem of participating in society. However, I use every opportunity to do something kind, to connect with someone who doesn’t expect it. Last night, someone was admiring the kitty print on my cloth wallet and saying how she missed her cat. So I took the time to ask about her cat. She told me that her landlord had said that if she had a cat, her lease would not be renewed, and he wouldn’t honor an “emotional support animal” document. Well, that happens to be illegal. I took the time to share my own experiences and how my emotional support waiver has made it possible to have my two indoor cats, thus deeply improving my life. And earlier in the week, getting my hair cut, I learned that my hair cutter’s father was near death, that the doctor had said there was nothing more he could offer, and had sent him home. I listened carefully and explored her feelings about her father’s death. She was sad, of course, but quite accepting. She grew up in another country and didn’t know about our wonderful hospice care. I explained the whole hospice premise and she said, oh yes, there was something in the paperwork about that. But she didn’t know to pursue hospice care (bad job on the hospital’s part). So our conversation empowered her, as the medical proxy, to check into hospice care for her father. In both these instances, I found opportunities to feel like a useful human being. Did it improve my pain levels? Nooo. But it makes my life feel worth while.

James McCay

I’ve been doing random acts of kindness my entire life. Volunteering at a Nursing Home for a year when I was 11-years old (they told me to quit & “play with kids your age” who only tormented me). My DEADBEAT father left when I was 18-months old w/a mentally ill mother (Sociopath, Borderline Personality Disorder). So being an only child OF an only child; her parents & I were her ONLY targets. Getting OUT of the house was my only solace.

Her parents did what they could, but early on it was very difficult. I can NEVER BLAME THEM! They had to deal with her ALONE for 23-YEARS (when she met my father)! I was the stereotypical “Let’s have a baby, that will solve all our marriage problems.” baby. PURE IGNORANCE! At least I got to tell both my parents (before they died) what having me DID TO HURT ME my whole life! I got (3) Severe Neuromuscular Diseases from my father serving at Camp LeJeune in the ’50’s.

By age 22 in 1989, I started donating HUGE amounts of sports cards (300-LBS+) to sick children. I only started collecting in 1987, but created a system to buy boxes, sell the best cards per box to break even, and donated everything else. Then when insert cards became popular by the early 1990’s, my donations reached 100,000-200,000 cards a yr; most years during the 1990’s. From 1989-1992 I donated yearly to the Leukemia Society (LSA) because I was inspired by Gary Carter in 1989. We became lifelong friends after my 1st donation.

I moved from NYC to FL in 1990 when my grandfather died. Gary Carter got me into all sports related charity events as a volunteer from 1989-1992 where I hung out w/Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr, Wilt Chamberlain +++. I did 26-yearly consecutive donations until I got too sick.
I won a National LSA Award in 1991 which was so unexpected. I never donated for any reason other than making very sick kids lives a bit easier.
Finally I fought sports collectibles fraud for free from 1991-present.

Now I need help & there is NONE!

Susan Wojda

Thanks for this article! And you are right on mark. I’ve been living with CP for about 20 years now and I know I try to be as kind to everyone. It really does make you feel better! Like you said just letting someone go ahead of you in a line. I have a friend who is very depressed and I’m always trying to cheer her up and even she says it makes a difference in her mood. I’ve always been that way. People used to make fun of me saying your to kind! There’s no such thing as too kind is there lol. Thanks again this brightened my day ❤️

Cindy too

For housebound people with time on their hands (like me), an easy thing to do which really helps people — in addition to helping yourself — is this:

When a phone rep from a company, or a crewmember of a retail store, etc, provides you with really good service, take the time to speak to their supervisor and compliment the person’s service to you.

(If you’re at a store, be sure to note down the person’s name if you can’t spend the extra time in the store and intend to call with the compliment from home later after you rest.)

Doing so has a real world impact on that person’s job — such as a better review, bigger bonus, better odds at promotion, and better odds at surviving a layoff. It’s so important in today’s tough economy with retail jobs disappearing and so fewer of them and so more competition to keep them.

And, this just occurred to me as I’m writing this —- in addition to benefitting the employees, doing this also benefits us customers by ensuring that the best people get promoted, dont’ get laid off, etc.

I’m not shy about complaining when there’s a problem, so on the flip side, I take the time to compliment people who deserve it.

And, if the person you’re complimenting is someone you see fairly often — like your pharmacist or pharmacy tech — it also gets you a warm welcome whenever you’re there.

I know from experience that Walgreens shares the complimentary emails that I send to Corporate from time to time with the store employees.

And, when sending these emails, I truly thought only of helping the employees and not of helping myself, but let’s face it — these days with all the problems we incur in trying to get our Rx’s, it’s nice to have allies behind the Rx desk. Again, I honestly never thought of this benefit to me until writing this post. I”m saying it now in case that’s extra incentive to get some readers to take the time to compliment when warranted, and not just take the time to complain.

So true and well said Joanna! Indeed kindness toward others is the road to inner peace and happiness. In my case I have found it very difficult to accept how my chronic condition has forever altered my once upbeat & happy personality since the 2017 incident. To this day I struggle controlling it… just recognizing when I’m the exact opposite, a mad dog with a short fuse is extremely difficult to do especially when my sensual persona becomes so overwhelmed with these maddening symptoms. That’s when I try my best to be like my “old self”… struggling to rise above the ashes of my new life. However, the inverse can be just as harmful … that if I were to shut-down, to hold it all in, to be quiet and stare at the wall in an effort not to be hurtful to others can severely increase my symptoms … thus finding and accessing that neutral place is the trick we all must seek.

Denise Bault

Another great reason to be kind to one another! We should try to be kind ALWAYS…not just randomly. Thanks for the reminder!

Hayden

I placed myself in possible harm’s way for 14 years as a FULLY volunteer firefighter. No pay whatsoever. I smile at children, ease their inhibitions toward stranger. I’m kind to all “companions”, pets and all animals in general. I hold the door for ALL people, men women, old, young, it does not matter to me. I tell my spouse of 41 years I Love Her ….daily. I fix the neighbors kids’ bicycles when they ask. I go get sick children from school when the neighbors…ask. WE, my wife and I “rescue” cats, dogs, or nurse them to health when sick. I’ve taught Sunday school, “:vacation bible school”. I worked as a self employed building contractor about 23 years after two “bad” spine surgeries, with the help of an effective medication. LIFE has changed drastically since the 2026 “guideline” for opioid prescribing physicians. I have always believed in “kind gestures”. It does make you “fell better” but, living with un manageable pain….is hell.

Tony hardy

What is a random act of kindness? Ever since I became disabled and govt pain management all that stopped