Give the new year a boost of well-being with this month-long challenge designed to help you cultivate the health promoting practice of kindness.
- Why a Kindness Challenge?
- Learn more about the science of kindness
- Introduction to Loving-Kindness Meditation
- Join the Kindness Counts Challenge (Feb. 1-28, 2022; Kickoff Jan 31st)
Register for the challenge here
You might be wondering, "What is a kindness challenge and how can it help me?" We can often think that kindness is just a sweet personality trait that some people have and others don't. Or maybe we think of it as something we are obligated to be. But, it turns out that kindness is more like a muscle that we already have and it can be strengthened with practice. And there is increasing scientific support that engaging and strengthening of this kindness muscle with regular practice is linked to multiple health benefits including:
- Uplift in mood and energy
- Greater sense of connection with others
- Boost to the immune system
- More sustained happiness and well-being
- Buffer against stress
- Curbing chronic pain
- Lessening loneliness
- Calming the inner critic
Science of Kindness Video (1.5 min):
More on Science of Kindness:
- Read about 18 Science-backed reasons to try loving kindness meditation.
- For employees: Learn how Building Resilience with Loving Kindness Meditation at Work can have a positive impact.
- For healthcare providers: Read a peer-reviewed journal article which presents "findings that suggest that Loving Kindness Meditation may be a viable, practical, and time-effective solution for preventing burnout and promoting resilience in healthcare providers."
- For college students: Explore how Loving-Kindness Meditation Promotes Mental Health in University Students.
- Happify's Infographic: explore the science of loving-kindness meditation in a snapshot.
One particular practice of kindness that is receiving a lot of scientific support is called Loving-Kindness Meditation. This is the practice of wholeheartedly directing thoughtful intentions of kindness to ourselves and others. Learn more about it in this 7 min. conversation between Sharon Salzberg and Dan Harris.
With as little as 5-10 minutes a day, this challenge can support you in developing a kindness practice that can fit into a busy schedule. Whether you are just starting out or already have some experience with kindness practice, we have designed this challenge with enough flexibility for you to make it your own.
This challenge will include two types of practices:
- Loving-Kindness Meditation and
- Various informal acts of kindness such as expressing your gratitude to a loved one or holding a door open for a stranger. You will also have access to the Acts of Kindness Bank which will include many more acts of kindness, including Workplace themed kindness practices.
You are welcome to choose the type(s) of practices that work best for you.
What to expect:
Participants will receive:
- Weekly emails with guidance for that week's loving kindness meditation and a variety of theme-based acts of kindness to practice during the week.
- Ongoing daily emails with kindness practices for that day to encourage you to keep going with your practice
- Bonus: The first 200 participants will receive a participation prize.
Each week we will focus on a different theme of kindness that builds on the previous week.
- Week 1: Kindness Towards Ourselves
- Week 2: Kindness Towards Friends/Loved Ones/Benefactors
- Week 3: Kindness Towards People In Our Lives That We Don't Really Know
- Week 4: Kindness Towards Everyone
Optional opportunities to connect:
We know that challenges can be...well...challenging! So, we will offer a couple of ways for you to connect with others and inspire each other along the way. For those of you who prefer a solo journey - not to worry - this part of the challenge is not required.
- Buddy Groups: You will have the option to indicate whether you would like to join our Buddies Program (groups of 4-5 people to check-in with weekly).
- Zoom Kindness Community Circles (hosted by Neesha Patel, PhD): These Zoom Sessions will take place on Mondays (Jan 31 - kickoff; Feb 7, 14 & 28) from 12:10-12:45pm and will include:
- guided Loving-Kindness meditation
- opportunities for you to connect with other participants,
- Q&A session to support the development of your kindness practice.
Ready to take the challenge?
- If you would like to participate in the buddy group program, the deadline to register is 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27.
- If you register after Jan 31, 2022, you will receive the challenge-related emails starting the week following your registration date.