Kindness in the trash.

As I have mentioned before, we live in the more colorful part of Copenhagen. When we look out of the window at night, we mostly see drunk people, young people being loud, sexshops, prostitutes... well you get the picture. Eventhough it sounds rough, I actually love this part of town. It is full of life and to see people live side by side like that is interesting to observe. The other night I was looking out the window. On the street there was a bike with a basket, someone had dumped some trash in the basket. A young guy in baggy trousers walked by, picked up the trash, and put in the garbagecan a few feet away. That was it, he just kept walking. It was really nothing, and then again it was a big deal. He didn’t have to, he wouldn’t get any credit for it, no one would really know that there had been garbage in the basket. Yet he did it anyway. What a man.

The selfless good deed has become a subject to research in the last 20 years. Stephen G. Post, PhD, a professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has says "There are ample studies showing that when people receive generosity and compassion, there is a positive effect on their health and well-being. Brain chemicals also enter into this picture of altruism. A recent study has identified high levels of the "bonding" hormone oxytocin in people who are very generous toward others. Oxytocin is the hormone best known for its role in preparing mothers for motherhood. Studies have also shown that this hormone helps both men and women establish trusting relationships."

I find that even seeing or hearing about someone who did something good for others, improves my state of mind. The urge to do something for nice myself is almost instant. I felt really happy, seing the guy pick up the trash. That expample only shows, that it doesn’t take a lot.

Stephen Post goes on to say “Two large studies found that older adults who volunteered reaped benefits in their health and well-being. Those who volunteered were living longer than nonvolunteers. Another large study found a 44% reduction in early death among those who volunteered a lot -- a greater effect that exercise four times a week.“

With those numbers, we should all do our daily exercise, and do something good for others. It just might be contagious. : )

Please leave your story of a an act of kindness you have done or received.