The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has reached to over 150 countries, infected hundreds of thousands of people, and resulted in thousands of deaths. Some people have described it as an episode of Black Mirror that they want to turn off, while others have said that they feel like the entire world is upside down. Stories of people emptying supermarket shelves or arguing over packets of pasta have painted a bleak picture of the coronavirus outbreak. But there are also acts of kindness that have inspired thousands of others.
Even in the midst of the crisis, people are making sure those in quarantine don’t feel alone, and turning canceled events into opportunities to give back. The idea that helping others is part of a meaningful life has been around for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote that finding happiness and fulfillment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved.” According to the psychologist Carol Ryff, who reviewed the writings of numerous philosophers throughout history, relationships with others are “a central feature of a positive, well-lived life.” Research shows that helping others can be beneficial to our own mental health. It can reduce stress, improve our emotional wellbeing and even benefit our physical health.
John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, wrote that “you have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” But research shows that when we do things for others, we do get repaid. Not just through reciprocation, but as a result of the psychological benefits acts of benevolence produce in the giver. I found the words tremendously meaningful because, we can never say for sure someone can never repay us (not even after either of our times is up, because the impact of some good things are felt long after it is done) and that means we continue trying to do something to that effect for as long as we live. How better can the live today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you?
Here are some recent instances of everyday people making the best of unfortunate situations.
- Twitter Hero Samantha Kelly Sets Up A Hashtag To Help The Vulnerable
In a time of self-isolation, communication is key. Ensuring those in need of help receive it is Samantha Kelly who started the hashtag #SelfIsolationHelp. The idea? To join those who can offer assistance and run errands to those who have been forced to self-isolate.
‘There was so much negativity and I wanted to do something useful. This is about people feeling like they are not on their own, and that there are people out there who do want to help,’ Kelly told The Times.
2. Healthcare workers are being applauded worldwide.
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have been on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus.
Of the more than 500,000 people infected by the virus globally, around 130,000 have recovered, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. Those recoveries can be attributed, in part, to the heroic efforts of healthcare workers.
To acknowledge this, people across the world, including Italy and Spain, France and India, have taken part in poignant clapping tributes to salute them. The latest example happened in the UK on Thursday, when people went to their doorsteps and windows to take part in a collective round of applause.
- Community spirit and acts of kindness are flourishing.
Children have been putting rainbows in windows to show their optimism
Although coronavirus has been keeping people apart, communities have been coming together in their time of need. All over the world, acts of kindness and solidarity have raised spirits.
In the UK, hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to join the NHS’s volunteer army, smashing the government’s recruitment target. Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said there had been “outbreaks of altruism” and he was “bowled over” by the response from volunteers.
In Spain, a doctor’s online plea for letters to those who had been hospitalized by coronavirus received an overwhelming response. Tens of thousands of letters were sent by well-wishers, El Pais reported.
And to connect with each other, people have been putting images of rainbows in their windows and on their balconies, in a colourful sign of optimism.
We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope
The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional well being. In short, doing good does you good.
Your kindness to others — your co-workers, your friends and family, your neighbors, those in your community and in the world at is critical right now, we need to beat coronavirus with our kindness. It helps to keep things in perspective. Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can provide a real sense of perspective and make you realize how lucky you are, helping you to achieve a more positive outlook on things that may be causing you stress.
During this time of coronavirus social distancing and quarantine, we’ve ample time to reflect on the needs of others. With this in mind, we’re asking you to try and help others once a day for a week and see if it makes a difference to how you feel. Here are some ideas on how you can show kindness to others.
Get involved with random acts of kindness, here are examples:
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
- Make a cup of tea for someone you live with
- Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
- Help with a household chore at home
- Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
- Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
- Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
- Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
- Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
- Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
- Send an inspirational quote to a friend
- Send an interesting article to a friend
- Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone catch up
- Spend time playing with your pet
In the midst of doom and gloom let us find reasons to smile. Smiling is by far one of the most recognizable and most powerful acts of kindness, and it costs nothing to do. Making a conscious effort to smile loudly projects kindness to the world. And if someone smiles at you, don’t hesitate to return the gesture. Believe it or not, this simple act of kindness may instantly change someone’s life for the better.
Be kind to yourself. While we often aim the kindness spotlight at others, it’s important not to forget to be kind to ourselves. Unplug from your responsibilities and busy routine — even if for just 15 minutes — and take some time just for yourself. You’ll come back stronger than ever.
How are people helping others in your community during the coronavirus outbreak? Please share your comments here below.