Monday, February 15, 2016

Why Kindness in the Outdoors is Good For You. It's Random Acts of Kindness Week #Pledge2BeKind

A moment of Kindness in the outdoors. Aspen, Colorado.

Sunset on Sentinel Dome in Yosemite and we note a group of hikers discussing a not-good situation. They'd left their food bag in their car, and although the trail head was only a mile or so away, the sun was setting and it wasn't safe to go grab it before dark. In good "be-prepared" fashion, we were overpacked with food, so we happily shared our treats with the grateful, hungry hikers. 

This simple story comes to mind when asked by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to take part in their campaign to spread their powerful message this week. [btw: My first thought in getting asked: How Kind! Immediately, my happiness levels soared, my energy increased, and wow, I think I just upped my lifespan by a huge margin...]

I see kindness on the trails all the time. It's one of the things that draws me to the outdoor community. The sense of, we're all in this together. And taking care of someone who may need a hand either physically or emotionally on say, a mountain-side 6 miles from the trail-head, is an immediate no-brainer. Of course we help someone in need. 

No doubt if you're reading this you know exactly what I mean. You too are drawn to communities who value caring, thoughtful treatment of each other and of Nature. Spending time in the outdoors almost requires it. Because it is always a reminder of how we fit into the larger ecosystem of life. We need to work with Nature, bend and sway with her, treat her well. And work together to preserve her and take care of the creatures, including humans, who live here. Again, we're all in this together.

So exactly why are we drawn to kindness in the outdoors or anywhere else for that matter? And what benefits does it bring? 

Kindness Increases:
- Energy
- Happiness
- Lifespan
- Pleasure
- Feel-good, natural chemical Seratonin and hormone Oxytocin

Kindness Decreases:
- Stress
- Anxiety
- Pain
- Depression
- Blood Pressure

And best of all, Kindness is Contagious. It is one of those things you WANT to catch. 

Sharing our food with the fellow hikers in Yosemite who'd left their grub bag in their car, my kids learned about kindness. And the contagiousness of it. The grateful hikers laughed that they'd pay our kindness forward someday. And I believe they will. And probably already have. 

For more information on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and the kindness movement, visit them at their website and #Pledge2BeKind

-Annie @OutdoorsyMama




4 comments:

  1. I love this. Once a stranger gave my crying kids a sucker on the trail and another time a stranger switched seats with me on the plane so I could sit by my toddler. It's been years but I'm still grateful.

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    1. so true Susan! having someone take a sec to help out especially when managing kiddos - i also remember those moments vividly as well. et's pay it forward for sure ;) happy trails! -a

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  2. so true Susan! having someone take a sec to help out especially when managing kiddos - i also remember those moments vividly as well. et's pay it forward for sure ;) happy trails! -a

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