Mars Veterinary Health is committed to a holistic approach to support our Associates’ wellbeing. Now, more than ever, it is time to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and each other. And while acts of compassion positively impact others, it turns out that random acts of kindness also have measurable positive impacts on our own mental health.
Thursday February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. This day is dedicated to provide an opportunity to show you care and appreciate your friends, your family, and your colleagues – all while improving your own mental health and creating a healthy community in which you live and work.
Do random acts of kindness really help?
Recently, The Journal of Social Psychology found that people who performed kindness activities for seven days in a row saw a boost in happiness, and the degree to which their happiness increased directly correlated to the number of acts of kindness they performed.
A healthcare services network in Colorado recently launched a health initiative focused on random acts of kindness. Rachel Slick, a behavioral health clinician at UCHealth, explains that random acts of kindness have measurable impacts on our mental health by increasing serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in the brain that make us feel satisfied and good. Performing acts of kindness towards others can also increase oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel more connected to and trusting of each other, she adds.
When such positive acts are carried out in a workplace and among colleagues, that feeling of trust and connectedness can translate into positive, welcoming, and uplifting work environments that people want to be a part of.
Veterinary professionals are faced with stressful situations daily, and left unchecked, can lead to mental health challenges. Simple acts of kindness can help reduce these high levels of stress.
Ideas to practice Random Acts of Kindness
To truly reap the full benefits of random acts of kindness, it is important to implement long-term, sustainable habits – and Random Acts of Kindness Day is a great place to begin! Here are a few ideas to get started:
What can I do personally?
- Hold the door for someone
- Thank a family member or a friend who has made a positive impact in your life by sending a card
- Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog
- Inserts coins into someone’s parking meter
- Kindness towards others starts with being kind to yourself – practice using gentle positive self-talk
How to get involved professionally?
- Ask a colleague about how their day is going
- Surprise a co-worker with their favorite coffee one morning.
- Donate to a charity (some examples include the Better Together Fund, Banfield Foundation, VCA Charities and Frankie’s Friends)
- Encourage your team members to host a 10-minute informal “Feel Good Friday” chat every Friday to share what made them feel good that week
- Compliment a co-worker with something you appreciate about them
On February 17 (and beyond!!), we encourage you to intentionally practice at least one small act of kindness or appreciation to brighten someone else’s day, create more positive work environments, and positively benefit your overall wellbeing.
For more information on “Random Acts of Kindness Day” please visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.
Mars Veterinary Health, Health & Wellbeing Team Testimonials
Scott Mogren, Senior Director, Health & Wellbeing, Mars Veterinary Health
“Early in the COVID pandemic when restrictive lockdowns were instituted, some individuals in my neighborhood would buy an extra bag of groceries or cook an extra portion of a meal and deliver if “randomly” to a neighbor. This act of caring was so appreciated – It really demonstrated caring for each other and built a strong feeling of community through those difficult times.”
Lori Harbert MSW, LCSW, Director Health & Wellbeing, BluePearl
“Practicing gratitude and living with gratefulness is an easy way to enhance our way of living and seeing the world around us. So often we see the world through our mind and our mind does not see things with gratefulness. It is in the heart where gratefulness takes hold and can change the very core of how we see ourselves and the world around us. Paying our gratitude forward is a simple path to increasing our happiness and well-being no matter the circumstances around us.”
Christine Michalko, VP P&O, VCA Canada
“For a moment, a small act of kindness may release the burden or stress someone may be feeling. We continually look at organizational policies and programs to help our teams manage this when we all have the ability to have significant impact with simple solutions. A thank you card or covering for someone on the floor so they can take a coffee break can go a long way. I love when kindness becomes a chain reaction, pulling into a drive thru and finding out the car in front of you paid for your coffee- a complete stranger paying it forward. Small things can make someone’s day. On random act of kindness day, I will focus on something small that can be repeated on a regular basis, I hope our teams can do the same.”