The Kindness Flash #51

This month’s theme: HEROISM


Thoughts from our Founder

Reflections by Orly Wahba – Working on this month’s Flash, I stumbled on a song I never heard of before, She’s Somebody’s Hero by Jamie O’Neal.

This country song reminds us that a hero can come in all kinds of packages. A hero, contrary to how we’ve been taught, doesn’t necessarily wear a cape or have their photo on the front page of a newspaper. A hero isn’t measured by their social media following, the wealth they acquire, or how beautiful they are. Oftentimes, heroes are the ones who go unnoticed. Read More >>

Who’s Your Life Vest? – In honor of our month of heroism, I’m excited to share with you a new video collaboration we released asking people to share with us who has been a “life vest” in their life. We’ve all experienced moments when we feel like life is whirling out of control. It can feel as though we are caught in a rip tide with no sign of help coming our way. Then suddenly someone throws us a life vest, a life line of kindness. It can come in the form of a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, or just being there to listen. It’s time to pay tribute to the seemingly small acts of kindness that in fact have an extraordinary impact.

This life vest of kindness can come from a friend, family member, teacher, mentor and on many occasions a perfect stranger at the right place, at the right time with exactly what you need to stay afloat. And so I asked people from around the world who has been a “life vest” in their life – their life line of kindness in a sea full of troubles, their bit of hope when it seems that hope is lost. Here’s what they had to say…

I invite each of you to share this video with someone in your life who has been a life vest to you, who has been your hero! Let’s acknowledge those who go above and beyond.


Coming Up This Month

Don’t miss our Monthly Dance Party! Sign up, learn the dance and JOIN US.

First Monthly Dance Party Happening On: FEBRUARY 9th 11am (New York)

Sign Up!

Articles of the Month

Bravery is Kindness in Action – Incredible acts of bravery and kindness in very unlikely places gives humanity hope and inspiration. BeKind not only provide recommendations for daily acts of kindness but anecdotes of courage and compassion to motivate people to show kindness despite any risk.

Lessons From the ‘Kindness Boomerang’ Effect – If kindness is done right, if we’re able to empower people to recognize their value, then they are going to become more productive. There is going to be more innovation in the world, greater connection.

What Makes a Hero? – Acts of heroism don’t just arrive from truly exceptional people but from people placed in the right circumstance, given the necessary tools to transform compassion into heroic action.


“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

Christopher Reeve

“The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Act of Kindness

In the words of Arthur Ashe, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Take the time to think about someone in your life who has been a hero to you in their quiet and undetecting way. Send them a heartfelt letter of gratitude or token of appreciation to let them know that to you they are, in fact, a superhero.


Question of the Month

If you can have one superpower what would it be and why? Share here or in the comments below.


Kindness Media

Songs of the Month

A Superhero isn’t someone who hasn’t known struggle, but rather one who continues to stand up time after time. When you feel ready to throw in the towel, dig deep within yourself and unleash the superhero inside of you. “When you’ve been fighting for it all your life, You’ve been struggling to make things right. That’s how a superhero learns to fly. Every day, every hour, turn that pain into power.”

This is an inspiring song that motivates us to consider the heroic potential that exists within each of us “with love and a little light.” Anyone has the power if they understand the greatness that lies within them.

Videos of the Month

What trials unite not only Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins but many of literature’s most interesting heroes? And what do ordinary people have in common with these literary heroes? Matthew Winkler takes us step-by-step through the crucial events that make or break a hero.

Jaz is passionate about the difference teachers make. Through celebration and provocation she uses the transformative power of her own story to inspire the ordinary heroes of education – Teachers.

Books of the Month

What Makes a Hero? – Elizabeth Svoboda – Using dozens of fascinating real-life examples, Elizabeth Svoboda explains how our genes compel us to do good for others, how going through suffering is linked to altruism, and how acting heroic can greatly improve your mental health. She also reveals the concrete things we can do to encourage our most heroic selves to step forward.

Awakening the Heroes Within – Carol S. Pearson – In this bold and original work, Carol S. Pearson shows that the heroic quest isn’t just for certain people under special circumstances. Exploring the many heroic paths available to each of us, at every point in our lives, her innovative program enables us to live heroically by activating and applying twelve archetypes in our lives.

Heroic Humility – Dr. Everett L. Worthington Jr. PhD – In this age of selfies, instant celebrity, and corporate scandals, the need for greater humility is pressing. This book synthesizes both research and theory relevant to humility and heroism, articulating a vision of heroic humility—humility of such great depth that it inspires others.

My Hero is You – IASC MHPSS RG – “My Hero is You”, a story developed for and by children around the world, offers a way for children and parents to together think about the questions the pandemic raises. Designed to be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children, the story was shaped by more than 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who took the time to share how they are coping with the impact of COVID-19.

Marvelous Cornelius – Phil Bildner & John Parra – Cornelius Washington was proud of his hometown, New Orleans. His job as a sanitation worker was important before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city but became even more important after when Cornelius worked with others to help restore it. Textured illustrations and a hope-filled narrative combine fact with fiction for a moving look at a catastrophic event.

Dare the Wind – Tracey Fern – This is a fascinating read about a woman who bucked the gender roles of her day to become a great navigator. The author also teaches young girls to combine the caution of reading the waves (circumstances in our lives) with the courage to dare the wind (step out and take risks).


Reflections on Heroism

Working on this month’s Flash, I stumbled on a song I never heard of before, She’s Somebody’s Hero by Jamie O’Neal.

This country song reminds us that a hero can come in all kinds of packages. A hero, contrary to how we’ve been taught, doesn’t necessarily wear a cape or have their photo on the front page of a newspaper. A hero isn’t measured by their social media following, the wealth they acquire, or how beautiful they are. Oftentimes, heroes are the ones who go unnoticed.

Moms are often overlooked for their heroic commitment to their children. My mom got married at 18 years old, became a mom at 19 and raised 5 awesome kids. She’s shared with me that when she was growing up she had dreams of accomplishing various feats, going to college, having a career.

She shared that she feels like she hasn’t accomplished much in life. She said, “I’m so proud of all you’ve done, because at least you’ve done something. What have I actually done?” When I heard her say these words I felt a pain in my heart that I can’t explain and I was in shock. My mom has always been there for me. We may not always agree and she may not always support my decisions, but she’s always been there for me. And to hear that this incredible woman is questioning her value and what she’s brought into the world was beyond my understanding. After all, I am everything I am and each of my siblings are everything they are BECAUSE of her. Because of her commitment, her unconditional love. Her job may not be the most glamourous and being a full time mom may not be listed on the Forbes 40 under 40 list, but in fact, motherhood is the most important job anyone can have – after all moms are growing the leaders of tomorrow. More than that, it’s one of the hardest and underappreciated.

I’ve yet to experience the great joy of motherhood, and I can’t wait for that opportunity to be given to me. But as a single girl of 38 who may have accomplished a lot of her dreams to this day, I look at my mom and I still think “I can’t wait to grow up one day and be just like her.”

Like the song says,

“She’s never pulled anybody from a burning building
She’s never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans screaming out her name
She’s never hit a shot to win the game
She’s never left her footprints on the moon
She’s never made a solo hot air balloon ride around the world
No she’s just your everyday average girl (but)

She’s somebody’s hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned-up knee
A little kiss is all she needs
The keeper of the Cheerios
The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She’s somebody’s hero”

So if you’ve stumbled on this article, my message to you is simple. Take the time TODAY and reach out to your mom, dad or whoever may have dedicated their life to care for you and let them know that to you they are a hero. A hidden hero, but a hero all the same.

Due to Covid, it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen my mom, since I’ve hugged her. And so this message goes out from my heart to yours mom. I love you now, I love you always! Every accomplishment of mine, every smile I may bring to someone’s face, every good deed I commit – is in your merit. You have accomplished more than you’ll ever know simply by loving me. Can’t wait to hug you again soon…

-Orly Wahba


The Kindness Flash #50

This month’s theme: BOLDNESS


Coming Up This Month

As I began thinking about the theme of Boldness, I thought what can be more bold than stepping out of your comfort zone and connecting with people from around the world.

Did you know studies have shown that dancing makes you happier?! That’s pretty awesome!

That got me thinking, instead of dancing once a year in our annual Dance for Kindness, why not have a monthly Dance Party and spread the happiness year round! And so, I’m psyched to announce Life Vest Inside’s Monthly Dance Party with Choreographer Marvin Cassie! Each month will feature a new dance and dance style and the best part is, you get to have a say in which style we dance to next!

Each month a new dance will be posted right on the website. Sign up, learn the steps and JOIN us in the beginning of every month on zoom to DANCE with people from around the world. We’ll end off our dance classes with some good old fashioned connection where you’ll get to learn more about your monthly dance buddies! PLUS, at the end of our dance session, I along with our partner Mariel Wilk will share 3 fun and easy Acts of Kindness that we will complete LIVE on the zoom call together and share what the experience was like!

First Monthly Dance Party Happening On: FEBRUARY 9th 6pm (New York)

Sign Up!

Articles of the Month

What Does It Mean To Be Bold For Change – It is never too early nor is it ever too late to be bold for change. Any change you desire starts with you. The way we raise our girls and boys to be accommodating of differences is a great starting point.

What Kindness Can Do – Be kind and you will live better and longer.

How to Be Bold – Discover what makes you different and then parade it around for all to see. Put flags on it, call attention to it and love yourself for it no matter what others think. That is the heart of boldness.


“People survived by being cautious, but they got ahead by being bold.”

V.E. Schwab

“The doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.”

Tony A. Gaskins Jr.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


Act of Kindness

Be bold and courageous. Engage in an act of kindness that’s out of your comfort zone. Talking to a stranger, visiting a local hospital, or something as simple as holding the door for someone. Kindness is unstoppable; be the one to light the flame.


Question of the Month

What does being bold mean to you? Share here or in the comments below.


Kindness Media

Songs of the Month

An empowering anthem for anyone who needs an extra dose of courage to take a stand and keep pushing forward one day at a time.

A simple yet undeniably resonant message: Be yourself – that is the boldest thing you can do.

Reinforces the little voice in our head that wants us to reach for great heights and never ever give up!

Videos of the Month

Grace shares stories of experiences that have taught her about service. She speaks on the subject of the servant mindset and how our passions can lead us to do bold things for other people.

To be bold you should do at least one thing a day in line with your purpose.

Books of the Month

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – Gay Hendricks – Your life is meant to be full of unlimited joy, abundance, and love. You are meant to have and do amazing things. Just get out of your own way, and stop the doubting and negative thinking.

The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz – This book will help you realize that a willingness to think big, opens the door to new and greater opportunities. The bigger you think the more elevated your life will become.

Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams – Mike Dooley – “Our thoughts become things,” is a major tenant of this book. As the good old law of attraction says, by focusing on what we want and experiencing the feelings of having this, we start to make it our reality. It’s time to visualize what you want.

The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson – A powerful, poetic picture book to share with children while talking about bravery and acceptance.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave – Jessica Hische – This book teaches kids that bravery isn’t about being fearless. It’s about something magical that happens inside of us to push through our fear, self-doubt, and anxiety and do the things that feel hard or frightening.

The Pink Hat – Andrew Joyner – The Pink Hat symbolizes solidarity and change and is a reminder to readers that they’re never too young to start shaping the future they want.


Dancing Makes You Happy

1. Dance Improves Self-Confidence (Sherry Graves)
There’s no denying that the teenage years can be tough for girls, as they often feel pressured to look perfect and behave a certain way. This can lead to low self-confidence and high levels of stress and anxiety. Luckily, researchers in Sweden found that teenage girls who attend weekly dance classes have higher self-esteem and improved mental health. These benefits often lasted for many months!

2. Dance Reduces Anxiety
The hormones released during exercise – called endorphins – are known to improve your mood. However, Psychology Today explained that people who dance often experience more benefits than those who simply run or hit the gym. Dance can lead to a calm demeanor, improved mood and better sense of control. This can be especially helpful for dancers who are having a hard time in school or their personal lives. Not only does escaping to the studio allow students to express themselves creatively, it also gets those good hormones flowing!

3. Dancing Alleviates Stress
People tend to recommend activities like yoga or meditation for stress relief, but a study from the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that dance might edge out both these activities. The researchers found that tango classes lowered individuals’ stress levels more than meditation. In this study, dancing was associated with positive emotions, better self-esteem and lessened anxiety. What’s better than that?
These scientifically proven facts are surely impressive, but nothing speaks quite as loud as the smiles on your dancers faces after a great performance. You should be proud that your studio not only teaches a beautiful art form to students of all ages, but that is also contributes to the well-being of youth in your community.

Why dancing makes us happy?
When we dance our brain releases endorphins, hormones which can trigger neurotransmitters that create a feeling of comfort, relaxation, fun and power. Music and dance do not only activate the sensory and motor circuits of our brain, but also the pleasure centers.

Indeed, neuroscientists at Columbia University say that when we move in tune with the rhythm, the positive effects of music are amplified. Therefore, a little secret to make the most of the music is to synchronize our movements with the beat, so we will be doubling the pleasure.

However, the magic of dancing can not simply be reduced to brain chemistry. Dancing is also a social activity that allows us connect with the others, share experiences and meet new people, which has a very positive effect on our mental health.

What’s more, as we move, our muscles relax to the music, which allows us to free ourselves of the tension built up during the day, especially the one accumulated in the deepest part of the musculature.

JENNIFER DELGADO

Original post: https://psychology-spot.com/dancing-makes-me-happy/


The Kindness Flash #49

This month’s theme: COURTESY


Reflections

Thoughts from Our Founder – Courtesy stems from mindfulness. Only through being mindful can we more readily take advantage of the endless opportunities to engage others courteously. The true test of courtesy is how we connect and engage when we don’t necessarily get the response we are looking for or when things don’t go exactly as planned. Read More >>


Articles of the Month

The spirit of work: How courtesy, respect and thoughtfulness create the foundation for all other work success – To establish a healthy, successful workplace climate there needs to be inner motivational intent to do good and to be good. Energy follows intent. Without real intent, strategies become empty shells.

Courtesy and Acts of Kindness – Any society that is populated by courteous people offers a higher quality lifestyle than one where people are rude and inconsiderate. It’s always good to follow the basic guidelines for social or business etiquette, but you can take a step farther by doing acts of kindness.


“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”

Henry Clay

“We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Act of Kindness

Be mindful. Over this month, train your eyes to behave courteously. We communicate a great deal through our eyes and when we are mindful of the attitude we portray to the person standing opposite us simply through our eyes, we can more readily ensure that we are communicating feelings of warmth, kindness and acceptance. Here are some ways you can train your eyes in kindness: Look people in the eye when speaking with them, smile with your eyes, mindfully make the choice to give off feelings of warmth and compassion when looking at people. You never know what might be going on in the other person’s life, your kind eyes can light them from the inside out!


Question of the Month

In what ways could you be more intentionally courteous toward others? Share here or in the comments below.


Kindness Media

Photo of the Month

How does this picture connect with this month’s theme of courtesy? Share your thoughts.

Songs of the Month

With his peppy beats, Bruno Mars turns his crooning style to discussing kindness and being a good friend. Always good for a pick-me-up and a reminder to be helpful.

This country song offers the reminder that kindness helps us see past our prejudices and biases.

Videos of the Month

The bottom line of manners is RESPECT.

Everyone wants to sparkle and stand-out with confidence and charisma. Our desire for connection has become far too dependent on technology and less so on relationships, built upon manners, social synchronization and trust.

Books of the Month

An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World – Bethanne Patrick – With engaging and artfully presented text, including sidebars on media mavens throughout history, social gaffes, and archaic manners, this book is as entertaining as it is informative. Readers delve into cultural similarities and differences through lively passages, colorful photography, and sidebars on unique history.

Emily Post’s Etiquette – Lizzie Post – This edition tackles classic etiquette and manners advice with an eye toward diversity and the contemporary sensibility that etiquette is defined by consideration, respect, and honesty.

A Book of Courtesy: The Art of Living with Yourself and Others – Sister Mary Mercedes O.P. – As the world becomes increasingly indifferent to social rules, the sense of etiquette that we once took for granted is fast disappearing. A Book of Courtesy provides a charming, beneficial antidote to this dilemma, restoring the Golden Rule to its rightful place of honor and proving that good etiquette never goes out of style.

Freda Says Please – Stuart J. Murphy – This is one book in a great series that teaches kids the importance of character and values.

Dude, That’s Rude! – Pamela Espeland – Full-color cartoons and kid-friendly text teach the basics of polite behavior in all kinds of situations—at home, at school, in the bathroom, on the phone, at the mall, and more.

Mary Louise Loses Her Manners – Diane Cuneo – A humorous and entertaining book illustrating that by ignoring the importance of manners we can literally lose them. A perfect example that practice makes perfect!


Reflections on Courtesy

Courtesy stems from mindfulness. Only through being mindful can we more readily take advantage of the endless opportunities to engage others courteously. The true test of courtesy is how we connect and engage when we don’t necessarily get the response we are looking for or when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Throughout our lives we will come across different types of people, experiencing different types of hardships and personal struggles. Oftentimes outside circumstances influence a person’s attitude, mood and the way they choose to engage with others. Coming off a rough day can leave people with a less heightened sensitivity for being courteous. While we aren’t excusing the lack of courtesy regardless of the circumstance, our job isn’t to change others, but rather to look inward and analyze our own actions and responses.

We can’t control how others treat us but we can control our reactions and how we respond when others choose to forgo courtesy or are blinded by outside factors. While courtesy stems from mindfulness, it is based, as is all internal work, on empathy. Courtesy can only exist when we remove ourselves from being overly judgemental.

The next time you are confronted with a lack of courtesy, give two doses of courtesy in return; one for yourself and for the person standing opposite you who is likely in need of a double portion. But remember to keep yourself in check, courtesy without humility is like a body without a soul – it’s useless.


The Daily Kindness Digest #1234

Kindness Quote

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Desmond Tutu

Act of Kindness

Create kindness cards that your family or friends can use when they need a little bit of kindness in their day!

Positive Affirmation

Everyday I make a difference! It can be something small, or something HUGE! I will make change!

Kindness Media

Art Classes offer "Transformative" experience to people living with special needs.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1233

Kindness Quote

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

Act of Kindness

Donate old textbooks.

Positive Affirmation

Today I will LEARN something new! Expanding my knowledge and interests may lead me down a path I would have never found otherwise.

Kindness Media

Alvin Law proves why labels don't define you.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1232

Kindness Quote

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Henry Adams

Act of Kindness

Send a letter of appreciation to your child’s teacher or one of your former teachers.

Positive Affirmation

Today I am grateful. I appreciate who people are more than what they do for me.

Kindness Media

Appreciating Teachers.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1231

Kindness Quote

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”

Vince Lombardi

Act of Kindness

Bring reusable bags with you to the grocery store.

Positive Affirmation

Today I am resourceful. I use all the skills and connections in my storehouse to bring about change.

Kindness Media

A formula for Happiness.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1230

Kindness Quote

“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”

James Allen

Act of Kindness

Use your indoor voice.

Positive Affirmation

Today I will be CALM. I will replace my anger with understanding and compassion.

Kindness Media

Sometimes compassion doesn’t need to come in the form of grandiose gestures, but something small - a smile, a laugh, a sincere conversation - just to say that you are cared for and you matter.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1229

Kindness Quote

“Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

Harvey Fierstein

Act of Kindness

List five positive character traits you possess. Think of small, tangible ways you take them to the next level.

Positive Affirmation

Today I reflect on all I have instead of all I want. Surprisingly, the list is longer that we initially think.

Kindness Media

Unexpected kindness.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1228

Kindness Quote

“If you are losing your leisure, look out! You may be losing your soul.”

Logan Pearsall Smith

Act of Kindness

On your day off, take the time to kick-start your morning with a nutritious breakfast. You deserve a little pampering. There’s a reason they call it the most important meal of the day.

Positive Affirmation

Today I will take the time to sit in silence and give my mind a chance to relax. I work so hard everyday, rest is essential!

Kindness Media

What New Yorkers have to say about Optimism.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1227

Kindness Quote

“There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”

William Butler Yeats

Act of Kindness

Find a public wish list online and send a gift to a stranger.

Positive Affirmation

You make a lot of decisions every day. Why not choose to be joyful and spread joy today!

Kindness Media

Rescued cat starts purring whenever his brother reads to him.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1226

Kindness Quote

“I want to be the kind of person that kind people like and want to be like.”

Jarod Kintz

Act of Kindness

Surprise your coworkers on a Monday morning with some breakfast treats!

Positive Affirmation

Everyday I come one step closer to being the person I dream of being. I will be more forgiving, more accepting, and kinder.

Kindness Media

Don't take the time you have with your family for granted.

The Daily Kindness Digest #1225

Kindness Quote

“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Act of Kindness

Grab a doggy bag after a big dinner out and give it to the first person you see who could use a nutritious meal.

Positive Affirmation

Today I will be the change. I will do my best to improve the world one person at a time and do something special for someone that needs love, positivity and more to smile about. Even the smallest act of kindness can make an impact!

Kindness Media

Her hair is not hers.