The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best and worst in us.
Mostly, the best.
Health care workers put their lives on the line treating the ill, often under extremely stressful circumstances, including the lack of standard issue gear (like face masks) which offer some measure of protection.
Retired health care workers – who are in the demographic most likely to experience serious complications from Covid-19 – are volunteering to help their overworked colleagues.
I have a friend who helps seniors connect to Facetime and Skype so they feel less isolated.
These volunteers all are experiencing the same stress, anxiety and fear consuming the rest of us.
Why do they do it?
The ultimate selfish act
We’re taught to be believe being selfish is bad, but that’s not always true. When we act with kindness and compassion towards others, we reap meaningful benefits. According to the Dalai Lama, “when we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
The views of the Dali Lama are supported by compelling research finding that that “love and caring expressed in doing good for others lead people to have healthier, happier lives.”
Kindness has been shown to reduce depression, promote better physical health, and increase positive feelings we have about ourselves.
Little effort is required
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to reap the benefits of being kind. Opportunities abound in the current crisis: picking up groceries for an elderly neighbor; phoning a friend who is alone and anxious; or contributing to a food bank for laid-off employees.
I recently sent a friend a couple of respirator masks. She was concerned about going to the grocery store and couldn’t find any to purchase. I have always worn face masks when flying, so I had some extras.
She wrote me a really touching note, telling me how much this small gesture meant to her.
These are trying times for everyone. Engage in an act of kindness and compassion.
The world needs more of it.