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Habits Of Kindness

WalnutBaron

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The Wall Street Journal published a piece today by a Stanford professor entitled "Habits Of Kindness That will Endure". Because it's behind a paywall, I've copied and pasted it here for all to read. We often hear that crises bring out the best and the worst in people. The hoarders and the thieves represent the worst. This represents the best of us and offers hope that a new normal will emerge that will make all of us a little more patient, a little more appreciative, and a little more compassionate than we were before. Let's hope so.

Habits Of Kindness That Will Endure

"I know it feels impossible, but try to think back to the ancient past—sometime in 2019, before you had heard of the coronavirus. Back then, how would you have predicted people would respond to a sudden global pandemic? You might have imagined a scene from “Contagion” or “Panic in the Streets”—mobs looting pharmacies, neighbor ruthlessly turning on neighbor.

AFTER THE PANDEMIC
Leading figures from a range of fields look ahead to the lasting impact of today’s crisis
In truth, some people have brawled over now scarce items like toilet paper, but many more have done the opposite. Covid-19 has sparked a global epidemic of kindness. Even while forced apart physically, countless people have found ways to help and connect with one another: delivering groceries to immunocompromised neighbors, engaging in “distant socializing” with lonely older adults, creating pop-up donation campaigns for those in need. Restaurants have turned themselves into food kitchens to serve displaced workers. Whole cities have given standing ovations to their health care professionals. Lawmakers have broached relief policies, such as eviction freezes and temporary universal basic income, which seemed unthinkable mere weeks ago.

Disasters rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other. They shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity. That’s why, in times of crisis, we are usually eager to help strangers, in what the essayist Rebecca Solnit has called a “carnival of compassion.” After 9/11, people around the U.S. stood in line for hours to donate blood. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a group of private boat captains dubbed themselves “The Cajun Navy” and set out to rescue neighbors.

Psychologists Ervin Staub and Johanna Ray Vollhardt call this type of reaction “altruism born of suffering,” and it has surprising side effects. Most important, it leaves helpers healthier. We often think of altruism as a transfer, in which one person sacrifices to benefit another. But well-being is not a zero-sum game: When we devote our time and money to other people, we feel happier. In older adults, volunteering is correlated with improvements in health and even decreased mortality.

Kindness can also decrease our stress and soothe us in moments of great pain. The psychologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl wrote that “suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” Many survivors of assault, war and addiction report that helping others speeds their own recovery. They discover strength in themselves that they might not have noticed before; they find purpose in what they went through and feel less helpless. Right now, that’s exactly what many of us need.

Hurricanes last a few hours, earthquakes are over in minutes and some terrorist attacks take place in just seconds. They are terrifying exclamation marks in our lives, which bring us together in a moment of shared struggle. Then they fade, and the lines that normally divide us slowly reappear. The Covid-19 catastrophe will stretch out for much longer, and the sustained struggle ahead presents an opportunity to reboot our culture and turn this interconnected moment into a habit.

Many of us yearn for things to go back to normal. It’s an understandable desire but one that we should reject. The crisis offers a chance to build a new normal. This could mean enacting policies to support millions as they get back on their feet. It should also mean a shift in our values, towards empathy and fellowship instead of ruthless individualism.

I know it feels impossible, but try to look forward to a time when the world is no longer paralyzed by this virus. Months, years and decades from now, the effects of the pandemic will linger in the form of economic strain and long-term health problems. We will continue to need each other more than before. We must continue to help each other more, too."

—Dr. Zaki is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the author of “The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World.”
 

WinniWoman

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A very insightful read. A much needed perspective in these challenging times. Thanks.
 

TravelTime

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The Wall Street Journal published a piece today by a Stanford professor entitled "Habits Of Kindness That will Endure". Because it's behind a paywall, I've copied and pasted it here for all to read. We often hear that crises bring out the best and the worst in people. The hoarders and the thieves represent the worst. This represents the best of us and offers hope that a new normal will emerge that will make all of us a little more patient, a little more appreciative, and a little more compassionate than we were before. Let's hope so.

Habits Of Kindness That Will Endure

"I know it feels impossible, but try to think back to the ancient past—sometime in 2019, before you had heard of the coronavirus. Back then, how would you have predicted people would respond to a sudden global pandemic? You might have imagined a scene from “Contagion” or “Panic in the Streets”—mobs looting pharmacies, neighbor ruthlessly turning on neighbor.

AFTER THE PANDEMIC
Leading figures from a range of fields look ahead to the lasting impact of today’s crisis
In truth, some people have brawled over now scarce items like toilet paper, but many more have done the opposite. Covid-19 has sparked a global epidemic of kindness. Even while forced apart physically, countless people have found ways to help and connect with one another: delivering groceries to immunocompromised neighbors, engaging in “distant socializing” with lonely older adults, creating pop-up donation campaigns for those in need. Restaurants have turned themselves into food kitchens to serve displaced workers. Whole cities have given standing ovations to their health care professionals. Lawmakers have broached relief policies, such as eviction freezes and temporary universal basic income, which seemed unthinkable mere weeks ago.

Disasters rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other. They shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity. That’s why, in times of crisis, we are usually eager to help strangers, in what the essayist Rebecca Solnit has called a “carnival of compassion.” After 9/11, people around the U.S. stood in line for hours to donate blood. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a group of private boat captains dubbed themselves “The Cajun Navy” and set out to rescue neighbors.

Psychologists Ervin Staub and Johanna Ray Vollhardt call this type of reaction “altruism born of suffering,” and it has surprising side effects. Most important, it leaves helpers healthier. We often think of altruism as a transfer, in which one person sacrifices to benefit another. But well-being is not a zero-sum game: When we devote our time and money to other people, we feel happier. In older adults, volunteering is correlated with improvements in health and even decreased mortality.

Kindness can also decrease our stress and soothe us in moments of great pain. The psychologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl wrote that “suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” Many survivors of assault, war and addiction report that helping others speeds their own recovery. They discover strength in themselves that they might not have noticed before; they find purpose in what they went through and feel less helpless. Right now, that’s exactly what many of us need.

Hurricanes last a few hours, earthquakes are over in minutes and some terrorist attacks take place in just seconds. They are terrifying exclamation marks in our lives, which bring us together in a moment of shared struggle. Then they fade, and the lines that normally divide us slowly reappear. The Covid-19 catastrophe will stretch out for much longer, and the sustained struggle ahead presents an opportunity to reboot our culture and turn this interconnected moment into a habit.

Many of us yearn for things to go back to normal. It’s an understandable desire but one that we should reject. The crisis offers a chance to build a new normal. This could mean enacting policies to support millions as they get back on their feet. It should also mean a shift in our values, towards empathy and fellowship instead of ruthless individualism.

I know it feels impossible, but try to look forward to a time when the world is no longer paralyzed by this virus. Months, years and decades from now, the effects of the pandemic will linger in the form of economic strain and long-term health problems. We will continue to need each other more than before. We must continue to help each other more, too."

—Dr. Zaki is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the author of “The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World.”

Good article. Just a question. I thought TUG does not allow us to copy and paste an entire article?
 

Panina

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Hopefully many will continue their kind acts when this passes.
 
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