Generous people are happier and healthier, yet acts of kindness are often met with suspicion and scorn.
Dr. Sandi Mann is a Senior Psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and author of ‘Paying It Forward : How One Cup of Coffee Could Change the World’.
Mann did a “14-day pay-it-forward campaign” as part of her research for her book, where she went around and did nice things for strangers in the hope that they’d pay it forward and do nice things for other people.
“I found that I was met with some suspicion when I tried to do nice things like buy coffee for people, or I stopped people in the street when it was pouring with rain and offered them a free umbrella and other such odd behaviors.”
Mann says she understands the suspicion because we’re not used to random strangers performing these odd acts of kindness.
“I think its all part of the stranger danger phenomenon that we are now so wary of strangers and so suspicious of them having ulterior motives.”
The irony is that it’s good for us to be kind
“There are so many health benefits”, says Mann, “you think…why isn’t everyone doing it?”
She says we’re kind to people we know, but not so much with strangers. Yet it’s easy to make being kind to people a habit, you just have to start doing it.
“I just think that there are opportunities when we can be kind and gentle and we miss them because we’re in such a hurry. For example, little things like letting a car cut in front of you. It’s a minor thing.”
LISTEN to the full interview here: