Is Kindness Contagious?

Giving coffee to a homeless person.

Giving coffee to a homeless person. #SpreadSmiles #SpreadKindness

kind-ness : noun
/kīn(d)nis/

1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

The power of kindness is both inspiring and moving. When done correctly, with the right intentions, I truly believe it can help change the world. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 64.5 million people volunteered in 2012. Why is everyone being so nice? Science helps break down the mystery.

There have been multiple scientific studies that have been done which actually proves that kindness is in fact contagious. When you see someone else helping another person it gives us a good “elevated” feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something philanthropic.

In a 2009 study, researchers performed an experiment in which they showed viewers a nature documentary, funny TV clip, or an uplifting segment from the Oprah Winfrey Show. After the clips had ended, the researcher pretended to have internal computer problems and told them that they could go. As they were leaving, she asked them if they would be willing to complete a questionnaire for another study (unbeknownst to the volunteers, the actual experiment was measuring whether or not they helped with the additional study). The researcher noted the questionnaire was boring and that the volunteers could leave whenever they wanted. The results showed that the participants who watched the Oprah clip spent twice as long filling out the questionnaire.

Seeing someone perform an honest deed (especially if they are helping another person), makes us feel good, often eliciting a warm, fuzzy feeling in our chest. This positive, uplifting emotion, known as “elevation.” Those who watched the Oprah segment were prime examples of this feeling.

A simple smile can go a long way. Sending out good vibes from personal reactions is always a good thing. Not only does it improve your well being, but chances are it improves the person your interacting with. Good vibes attract good vibes. It just is what it is. Kindness is contagious- Science proofs this to be true. The upcoming holiday enables everyone to be unselfish. You are buying gifts for others and showing people you care. Keep up the hype and try doing something for a stranger. Share your experience with us in the comment section.

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Christmas Decorating Tips

Starting from the outside and headed in lets get crafty this holiday season and spruce up your basic decorations.

Start with your Front Door:

wreath

Your front entrance is your first impression. If you love the holidays, show your neighbors, guests, and santa that you do with a well spirited entrance.

Ideas?

Wreath: You could buy one from the same place you bought your tree, or make one out of ornaments. If you choose the make one, make sure you have a hot glue gun handy! For a more indepth tutorial check out Matt & Becky’s Blogspot

Christmas Sign: Instead of a wreath, you could create a cute holiday sign to hang on your door. All you would need is a piece of scrap wood and some stencils. Keep it simple: Joy, Believe, Santa, Baby it’s Cold Outside are just a few ideas.

Just remember, the more original, the better!

Turn an old ladder into a Christmas Tree and station it out front.

String lights around the ladder and put a star on top. Need a visual? Check this guy out.

laddertree

 Inside–Spruce up the Stairs

Green Garland: Add a seasonal flair with green garland, ornaments, and pinecones intertwined up and around the stair case.

Snowflakes and Lights: If you wanted to cutout some snowflakes you could tape them along the staircase and string lights for a more gentle approach. For a tutorial on how to cutout snowflakes visit Martha Stewarts step-by-step approach!

Hang Stockings for Santa to Fill

stockings

If you don’t have a fireplace, get creative on where to put the stockings.

You could place them underneath an entertainment center or put them along the bottom of your kitchen island. If neither of these ideas work for you, maybe tack them outside a door or near an archway!

Last but not Least- Light some Candles.

Pick scents that remind you of Christmas. Trust your personal preferences. I personally love a toasty vanilla in the kitchen and a rustic pine in the living room.

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Boost your Natural Endorphins

smilin1g

 

Endorphins. Also known as the “Feel-good Chemical”. They are naturally produced chemicals in your central nervous system that transfer information from one cell to another. If you find yourself in a stressful or painful situation, your brain will automatically produce a surge of endorphins to try and make you feel better. They are sometimes referred to as the natural pain killer.

However, you don’t have to necessarily be upset or angry to have these stimulants released. There are aromas, actions, and foods you can try that will produce these endorphins and in turn make you feel good, better, and happier. Even if you are in a great mood– try some of these tactics to make way for an even better day!

 

Use your sense of smell.

Vanilla- helps reduce anxiety and alleviate stress.
Lavender- improves symptoms of depression and insomnia

To get the endorphins boosting try:
- lighting some vanilla or lavender scented candles around the house,
- add vanilla oils to your bathwater
- dab lavender oil on your wrists

Exercise.

Whether it’s a light walk around the neighborhood, a jog around the park, or engaging in a group exercise getting into a rhythm of continuous exercises releases endorphins.

Turn up the beats. Listen to music.

Listening to the music you love triggers a natural joy and releases endorphins. Music and dancing go hand in hand here. Go ahead, listen to some music, dance around and get exercise. You are sure to release some happy feelings with the two combined!

Eat something spicy!!

Hot and spicy foods such as chili’s contain a chemical called capsaicin. When this “spicy sensation” comes into contact with your tongue, it tricks the brain into thinking that you are in pain–which releases the pain-relieving endorphins! Tricky Tricky.

Whenever possible it is important to laugh often, smile more, and surround yourself with people who lift you higher! Happiness is not by chance, it’s a choice. Life is too short to be anything but happy :)

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6 Reasons to Be Thankful

Thankful

Thanksgiving is ONE week away. Can you believe it? It’s understandable that if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, your stress levels might go through the roof. Just the entertaining and the turkey dinner is a lot to think about. However, it’s important to remember why we’re all coming together – to be thankful, grateful, appreciative, whatever you want to call it. A lot of us don’t think about what we’re thankful for very often. But when you’re thankful, you’re happy – and that’s why we’re here! Here are 6 things you can be thankful for.

Your Freedom

America is the land of the free. The opportunities in this country are absolutely endless. Think about other countries, where poverty and violence are unfortunate ways of life – and then think about how well you have it.

Simple Pleasures

The ability to ride a bike on a fall morning, take a nap when you’re tired, and millions of other things are experiences that not everybody gets to have. Always remember to live in the moment, because life is a collection of experiences.

Family and Friends

Family jump
Humans need to be loved, and family and friends are there to do that. Life isn’t a popularity contest, and it doesn’t matter if your family and group of friends is large or small. As long as you have people you can talk to, laugh with, and help you through hard times, you have something to be thankful for.

Technology

People are so quick to bash technology and the ways it’s ruining civilization. While I agree that life would be better without everybody glued to their cell phones, I always stop and think about the wonders technology has done for our lives. TV shows can keep us entertained for hours! And how about the ability to look up the answer to anything at the touch of a screen! Or what about the ability to connect with old and new friends via social media? It’s all great, and all of that aside, technology has been incredible for helping sick patients in hospitals, catching criminals, etc.

Food/Shelter/Clothing

Food, shelter, and clothing are the three main components of life. As long as you have them, there isn’t much else you need to survive. If you have these three things, you’re luckier than many people in this world. Think about this – the ability to even have a Thanksgiving dinner is a gift.

Bad Experiences

thinking
This might seem like a fairly depressing thing to end on, but you need to look at it in an optimistic light. Every single person on this planet has experienced tough times, and we all grown and learn from them. Take a minute to remember these experiences and think about how far you’ve come. Disappointment, fears, pain, and sadness make people think about what’s good in life.

 

 

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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5 Beautiful Reasons to Adopt a Child

Genuine love for children

There is so much beauty to be said about a child. They are so pure and innocent (at first) and can really be crafted into something amazing. Children are the future generation. Daily living and conflict resolution are some basic skills that can have a long lasting impression on a child. To stamp your personal ethics and morals on something that will represent the future is admirable goal to some people.

Only Child Syndrome

Having a brother or sister is one of the best things for a kid. It is a guaranteed friend. When couples are faced with infertility, adopting is the next best thing. Not only does it give your child a sense of responsibility of the “older” brother or sister, but it also gives you the ability to grow your family.

Siblings

“Because I have a brother, I will always have a friend” – unknown author

All my single ladies? Enjoy the experience of parenthood

Infertility in woman starts to decline around the age of 35, and it is almost impossible to conceive around the age of 45. Now a days, women are pushing the idea of children off until later years due to the fact that they wish to focus on their career. Miss Universe and film actress, Sushmita Sen, is a single mother who adopted a child. As she puts it, “this little girl needed a mom and I needed a child.” When you know, you know. It can be as simple as that.

Miss Universe Adoption

 

Save a child

The idea of rescuing a child who would otherwise grow up without the benefit of a support system and loving family is a great reason to adopt a child. Some moms get pregnant too young and can’t afford to give their child a healthy life. Others are brought into this world due to drugs and abuse. Whatever the reason may be, saving a child from an unstable environment is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give them.

Reap the benefits, forget the labor.

Some pregnancies can be brutal. You can experience “morning” sickness at any hour, your diet is limited, and you are always tired. For a career woman on the go-go, these symptoms are not ideal. Not to mention the awful pain and cramping one has to experience going through labor. If choosing to adopt, you skip all these awful features and just get to purely enjoy the life of parenting.

For more information on adoption check out the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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6 Ways You Can Be Happier at Work

Reception
A 2013 study shows that over 70% of Americans are unhappy at work. That’s a scary high number — just think about how much time you spend there! More time then you spend awake at home afterward. Whether the boss is on your back, you’re stressing about the workload, or the co-workers are being difficult, read below for 6 tips to be happier at work.

Morning Time

It’s crucial to give yourself time in the morning. If you’re rushing out the door every day, you’re not giving your brain enough time to get prepared for the day ahead. Take a hot shower, have some coffee, turn on the TV or read a magazine, then eat some breakfast. We’ve all heard the same lines growing up – breakfast is important, it’s healthy, it’ll wake you up, etc. It’s all true, so don’t skip it!

Early Productivity

Simply put, do the harder work at the beginning of the day. You’re more productive and more focused, and it won’t be hanging over your head. That way, you can leave at 5:00 – no more trying to finish the project last minute!

Learn!

Look at your job as a learning experience. If you don’t feel you’re growing and learning, you’re not putting yourself out there to gain knowledge. Ask for feedback from your boss about how you can improve and change. Try to learn more about all of the parts of your company. Find out what other departments are doing and you might find something that really interests you.

Cut the Distractions

In a world where everybody has an iPhone, it’s pretty easy to access anything you could ever want at work. Facebook, games, texting, calling – they all seem like things that could make you happier. But they aren’t! They distract you from getting your work done, which in turn gives you less time, and makes you more stressed. Keep your phone away from your desk. You’ll be busier, more productive, and the time will fly by faster. The quality of your work will go up as well.

Take Breaks

Nobody is expecting you to do the exact same thing for all eight hours of the day. Go outside, take walks, stretch, and give yourself breaks — even if they only last for 5 minutes. Exercise (even if it’s just a little) is so important for your health, and it makes you happier. On the same note, eat something nutritional for lunch. Nutritional food is good for the brain and it will make you happier. Junk food will make you tired.

Smile

The simple act of smiling can actually make you more happy, even if you’re not. And it will make everyone around you happy as well. Take a few deep breaths, smile, and try to cut the negativity out of your daily routine. Don’t let bad moods control you, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to unreasonable requests.

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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