Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Original Publish Date: Jan 4, 2017

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who gets the post-holiday blues?  January seems a bit bleak after all the colorful customs and special events of December holidays.  Any advice?

A:  Consider joining the kindness movement.  The Parade insert in last Sunday’s newspapers has suggested, “Let’s make 2017 the Year of Being Kind.” They cited studies of the healthful benefits of kindness, and gave examples of ways to kick off the new year with this theme in mind.  Here are samples:

Kindness = “Happier, bigger hearts.”  Oliver Scott Curry of Oxford is studying why being kind feels good.  It has an immediate, positive effect on one’s brain.

Kindness = “Better physical health.”  Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Autism Research and Education have found that people in the hospital have less anxiety and pain and shorter hospitalization when they receive kind treatment from hospital staff (including better communication and an effort to get to know them as people).  The study also showed that doctors and nurses practicing kindness “feel more engaged and less exhausted.”

Kindness = “Tighter neighborhoods.”  Some cities, such as Anaheim and Albuquerque, have launched campaigns to “make kindness contagious.”  Encouraging neighbors to get to know one another can reduce crime and add a layer of first responders in times of emergency.  One southern California county has launched a One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign and challenges other areas to do the same.  (Would that work here in Pleasanton?)

Kindness = “Better business.”  More people are choosing goods that are connected to charitable causes for positive social impact.  One example is KIND Healthy Snacks, which has a charitable foundation that recently awarded a $500,000 KIND People grant to Lava Mae, “a non-profit that renovates retired buses into hygiene centers for San Francisco’s homeless.”

Kindness = “A less fragmented, more connected world. Kindness is a value that transcends borders, race, faith, and age.”

One easy way to beat those post-holiday blues is to get involved in helping others by visiting the Make A Difference for Pleasanton Festival in the city library on Saturday, January 14, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  There you will find more than two dozen diverse non-profit organizations eager to help you “Get Connected and Stay Connected” through community service.  I think we all could agree that 2017 could use more kindness than what we witnessed in 2016.