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It's why they do what they do

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By Angye Morrison

After working with and covering the Havana Relay for Life, I found myself wondering about the people who commit to working so hard on similar events. Beyond the obvious reasons, I wondered what makes people commit to such involvement.

Then I began to think about how we can be involved in making the world a better place on a daily basis. And that started me to thinking about random acts of kindness.

It’s more than just a cliche. Random acts of kindness are the little unsung actions that make the recipient’s life better and improve the community. The acts don’t have to be big or costly...they just have to be, well, done.

As I thought about these things, I remembered how good it feels to do something for someone, even if it’s just a small gesture. I myself have done things for others, never wanting any recognition. I did those things just because they were the right thing to do. My only reward was in the form of warm fuzzies. There are countless others out there who do the same.

Good deeds are good for you. It makes you feel good. There are numerous scientific studies that have shown that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, for those who perform them.Most good deed doers, when asked, say they feel a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act. Some have called this a “helper’s high.” This well-documented phenomenon causes a sharp reduction in stress and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

There’s even studies that show corticosteroids, which are powerful hormones, work with adrenaline to release fatty acids into the blood stream, where they become energy for our muscles. This can become a source of strength and energy.

I’m not sure if all of those studies are correct in their findings, however, I do know from experience that doing good makes you feel good.

So this week, I challenge you, readers. Do a random act of kindness. Visit someone in your neighborhood who’s alone. Instead of complaining about the trash you see on the side of the road, stop and clean it up. When you see a homeless person out by the interstate, buy that person lunch or a cool drink. Contact the school board and find out how to mentor a kid who comes from a one-parent home.

There are so many things we can all do to reach out to others...and these things will make a difference...in our community and in ourselves.

E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at editor@gadcotimes.com.