Feel Good News

The Science of Kindness

The Science of Kindness

Wednesday was a day filled with kindness as people shared caring acts and messages around the world in honor of World Kindness Day. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) are drawing inspiration from all of these kind acts and keeping the momentum up. We recently read an article on the Good News Network that informs us about a new institute whose primary directive is to research kindness.

A New “Kind” of School

Kindness has been shown to be beneficial to our physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as promote a fulfilling and long life. Since kindness is such a large and important topic, the University of California Los Angeles decided to open a school just for researching kindness. “There are countless other ways that different compassionate acts and lifestyle changes can affect one person, let alone society…[UCLA] has just announced that they will be launching the world’s first interdisciplinary research institute on kindness.” This is all made possible by The Bedari Foundation. This private family foundation aims “…to enable significant cultural shifts in the fields of health and wellness, community displacement and environmental conservation.” They offered the gift of $20 million to help establish this school at UCLA.

Kindness Studies

This institute will begin operating immediately. It will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding kindness. These researchers will do this by using biological, evolutionary, psychological, cultural and sociological, as well as economic perspectives. Some of the focuses for researchers from many disciplines and external organizations who are gathering at the institute will be researching “…the actions, thoughts, feelings and social institutions associated with kindness.”

The UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute will support world-class research on kindness. Some of the focus will be on creating opportunities to apply the kindness research to the real-world. Also, the institute will serve as a global platform for communicating findings, helping educate the world on the science of kindness. The institute hopes to use its research to empower citizens and inspire leaders to build more humane societies. This caring research is a wonderful way to promote caring around the world. Additionally, the research is helping set in motion acts of kindness that can help make the world a better place. UCLA chancellor Gene Block comments that “universities should always be places where we teach students to reach across lines of difference and treat one another with empathy and respect — even when we deeply disagree.” It is Chancellor Block’s hopes that the new institute will gather some of the best minds and hearts to bring forth top ideas on the vital issue of kindness. The sciences of kindness and how we apply that knowledge to government, economics, and general welfare of our communities gives us real hope for a solid social impact, now and for future generations. 

What Have Researchers Already Begun Studying?

In previous blogs we have mentioned how kindness and caring acts are contagious, in a good way. UCLA anthropologists are examining this phenomena of kindness that spreads from person to person and group to group. One study underway is the study of “…how people who regularly act unkind might be encouraged to engage in kind acts instead.” Also, UCLA psychologists are conducting studies on how kindness can improve our moods and reduce symptoms of depression. “Others are pursuing research on changes in neurobiology and behavior resulting from mindfulness, and how those changes can influence kindness and people’s mental, physical and social well-being.” 

But Wait, There’s MORE!

There is more for those of us who are looking for more excitement. The Kindness Institute will provide seed funding for projects that research and examine the mechanics of kindness, both social and physical. This could give us insight on how people and their communities can harness kindness to create more humane, caring societies. The Good News Network also reports that “It also will provide mindfulness awareness training to students, faculty and staff and in underserved Los Angeles communities, and host an annual conference at which presenters will examine new discoveries in kindness research, among other activities.” Matthew Harris, one of the The Bedari Foundation’s co-founders and UCLA alumni,  states, “Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us … Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness.”

We are so excited to hear about all of the kindness being brought into our caring communities. We thank every person who participates in caring acts to help make our world a better place for us all!

Craving more kindness? Read more blogs about acts of kindness in our communities, teaching caring kids, and caring for others. If you would like some more caring in your week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Caring Connections, Charity Work

Caring Acts of Kindness Help Lift Us Up

Caring Acts of Kindness Can Help Lift Us Up

There are many ways that we can stay healthy, such as eat right and exercise. One thing we don’t often hear about is caring acts of kindness. When we do kind things for others, we feel better and become healthier people. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) want to share just why caring acts of kindness lifts us up.

Giving back has an effect on your body. 

In and article on Huffington Post titled we are able to read about how helping others promotes health. In the article the authors comment on studies that show the effects of donating to charity has on the body. The area of the brain responsible for feelings of reward is triggered. Feel-good chemicals release and often spur you to do more kind acts. This is what psychologists often call “helper’s high.” 

There is more than just a physical feel-good sensation that we experience when performing acts of kindness; our minds get a boost too! If we donate to charity or volunteer to help the elderly at a senior center we get a boost to our self-esteem. Ultimately we can become more optimistic and positive people. The more regularly that we do kind acts the stronger social connectedness becomes, and the more confident we can become. “Being a force for good in a friend’s life can help build a lasting bond. When you help others, you give off positive vibes, which can rub off on your peers and improve your friendships,” according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. “Both parties will contribute to maintaining a mutually beneficial dynamic. Having a positive impact on someone else could help you change your own outlook and attitude.”

With a positive outlook and better physical health we begin to have a clearer head. UnitedHealth Group found that  78% of volunteers reported that they felt less stress after charitable activities. Also they were calmer and more peaceful than people who don’t volunteer.

A clear head gives us a clear perspective on our own situation. This often allows us to be more appreciative of what we have. The Global One Foundation describes volunteering as a way to “promote a deeper sense of gratitude as we recognize more of what is already a blessing/gift/positive in our life.“ 

Empowered to do good.

When we volunteer or perform acts of kindness, we feel more empowered, rewarded and fulfilled.  According to a survey by the UnitedHealth Group, 96% of people who volunteered over the last 12 months said volunteering enriches their sense of purpose.

Whether with a large group of people in a volunteer organization, or just between two friends exchanging words of advice, helping people creates a feeling of community. “Face-to-face activities such as volunteering at a drop-in center can help reduce loneliness and isolation,” according to the Mental Health Foundation.

Caring Acts of Kindness are Contagious.

According to a study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Cambridge and University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, acts of kindness, giving of our time, and volunteering are contagious. “When we see someone else help another person it gives us a good feeling,” the study states, “Which in turn causes us to go out and do something altruistic ourselves.“ So, it begins to spread from one person to the next, and hopefully across the world, to create a more caring place for all of us to live in.

We are happy to celebrate the positive effects of caring acts of kindness on the body which also helps us feel more empowered. With all of the people we come into contact with while sharing our acts of kindness, the “caring cooty” becomes contagious, spreading throughout our caring communities.

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Caring Challenge, Feel Good News, Sharing

#BeKindTogether

kindness challenge

kindness challenge

Just like acts of gratitude, kindness can go far. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) are so excited to share that DoTerra has organizing worldwide 15 Day Kindness Challenge. We love a good challenge! This is similar to our Caring Challenge where each day there are suggestions for the day to promote caring and kindness.

Diana Quote kindness

Acts of kindness help change the world.

“One small act of kindness can change someone’s life. So imagine what millions of acts can do.” (DoTerra) This movement is all over social media with the hashtag #bekindtogether. The goal is to reach 250,000 acts of kindness. Each person who chooses to pledge doing 15 acts of kindness for 15 days adds up fast. This movement began August 29th, and they are currently on day 9.

Kindness Ambassador

The person who organized this movement is Leon Logothetis. He is known at DoTerra at the Kindness Ambassador. Leon is quoted on their website saying “Kindness makes people feel less alone.” We find this to be true in most areas around the world. Some examples are relief efforts in areas where natural disaster has hit and the homeless receiving gifts of meals by others who are passing by. Leon is the perfect person to lead this movement of kindness. He travels the world spreading kindness. He has visited each continent, 90 countries thus far. Each life changing experience is filled with kindness and goodness of strangers. Leon is harnessing the power that comes for acts of kindness small and large in the effort to help change the world to be more caring and kind.

Would you like to pledge to spread caring and kindness? Click Here to link to sign up for the 15 Day Kindness Challenge!

Thank you to every ‘socialpreneur’ across the world spreading kindness and caring. Keep up the good work, we love it!

#bekindtogether

If you would like to read more about caring communities, UCA activities, and or caring articles on our blogs. If you would like some more caring in your day, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Charity Work, Feel Good News, Sharing, Unified Caring Association

Being in Service

lunches

Being-In-Service-lunches

Unified Caring Association (UCA) strives to continue promoting caring around the world. But how can someone start performing caring acts? One of the best ways is to start close to home. Help out at a local food bank or shelter or donate clothing or personal care items to those in need. UCA did just this in our local community where our headquarters are located.

UCA jumped into action when we learned about an urgent need for supplies at Great Northern Services (GNS). GNS serves about 10,000 lunches over the summer months to school aged children up to the age of 18 years old. GNS sponsors the USDA Summer Food Service Program donates bag lunches during the work week (Monday-Friday) in the summer months of June, July and August with no cost to the children’s families that receive the lunches.

Supplies that were needed included kitchen utensils, pots, food containers and lunch bags for every child and every lunch all summer long. These supplies were needed by the teams to put the lunches together and deliver them to the kids. We are happy to report that smiles were on everyone’s faces as the lunches were served up. It was a huge pleasure to help support the caring efforts provided by GNS and the USDA Food Service Program to serve up nutritious meals in the community of Siskiyou county. We continue sending our best wishes to all of the teams and every child they serve!

food-fun-lunches

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association and keep up to date on UCA’s caring acts? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Other ways to keep up with UCA activities are on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Benefits, Caring Connections, Connecting, health care, Self Care, Unified Caring Association

Volunteering for Health

volunteering

Volunteer-health

Have you ever felt so good after helping someone else? If so you are not alone! There are so many ways to volunteer your time and skills to help others while giving yourself the gift of self-care. Unified Caring Association (UCA) gives more than three cheers for volunteers. 

Volunteering does more than we often think!

When we give our time and knowledge through volunteering we feel a ‘helper’s high’. This phrase was coined by Allen Luks. He defines this as “…the sense of euphoria that can be experienced soon after helping someone else.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) During this ‘high’ there are two phases. The strongest is the first phase. This phase is characterized by an uplifting and euphoric mood. This is followed by phase two where there is a longer lasting sense of calm. This is almost like taking three big, quick breaths for the mind! What is most interesting is that “..the greatest effect (the high) was observed in helping strangers.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) As when we talk about meditation and or mindfulness activities we see a reduced risk in depression. We infer that the same positive effects happen during volunteering activities as those of meditation and or grounding yourself in nature.

How else can volunteering help us?

Along with creating a healthy, caring social network “…volunteerism was associated with a markedly lower risk of dying. Depending on the study, the decrease in death rates ranged between 20 to 60%.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) This lower risk of dying can be linked to how those who volunteer take care of their own personal health. Often times those who volunteer make a larger effort to take care of their well-being. An example is regular preventive care visits to their doctor.

Sharing caring through connection

When we are volunteering we are likely exerting “…its positive health effects by connecting people to others and to an activity that they find meaningful. Achieving connection, purpose, and meaning is critical to attenuating stressors of life—particularly loneliness. Since stress is a major cause of disease, especially heart disease, the ability to quench the need for connection, purpose, and meaning can bring about beneficial and salutary changes for people. And when there is [a] purpose and we are connected to others, we take care of ourselves.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM)

When UCA held a recent scholarship contest. One of the questions asked was in regards to if there is one thing you would change in the world, what would it be? We are still moved by one response written. This was by TiAnna Olivas. She writes, “Volunteering not only has a positive impact on the people and organization, it reshapes the way you view life as well. Volunteering provides the opportunity to meet new people, gain new experiences, and make a productive influence on the world around you…I have gained so much from my personal experiences with volunteering. I volunteer with the local pantry and the people there are so kind and have taught me so much. Volunteering with them, I have witnessed how they live an abundant life, filled with making the people around them happy. I strive to be like them, being a light in this dark world. (https://www.unifiedcaring.org/tianna-olivas/)

Let us at UCA help you with ways to volunteer!

Unified Caring Association has suggested resources to begin, continue or expand volunteering. One resource is the National Volunteering Caregiving Alliance. Through this network members can connect to about 700 communities throughout the U.S. This network is to help provide volunteer caregivers by connecting community programs and organizations to those in need.

A second resource available for UCA members is access to The Corporation for National and Community Service. This organization plays a key role in supporting the culture of service in the U.S.A. It is here that you can find a volunteering opportunity. There are so many volunteer categories, the sky’s the limit! For example we could search for volunteer opportunities in food banks and soup kitchens, collecting clothing and items in need for the homeless, or spending time assisting the elderly.

Volunteering word cloud, heart concept

In short, volunteering is not only helpful to those you are spending time with, but helpful in our own self-care journey as well. Let’s give many cheers for those of us that spend time volunteering. Thank you for all you do!

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Small acts of caring create a great impact
Connecting, Sharing, Unified Caring Association

Small acts of caring create a great impact.

Small acts of caring create a great impact.

A small kindness can make a big difference in the world. In fact, it’s often the little things in life that make our days seem brighter. Too often, people feel powerless to make a difference in the world, and consider their contributions to be insignificant. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it’s the day to day small acts of caring that we share that keep us all connected. Collectively, our small acts of caring create a great impact. As a matter of fact, the world needs more of them!

Small acts of caring can create a great impact! Be Kind!
Small acts of caring can create a great impact!

A caring act does not have to be grandiose to be impactful. For example, a warm smile or a sincere compliment can create a moment of caring connection. Similarly, remembering to check in on someone that is going through a tough time can ease the burden of their challenge. These small acts of caring create a great impact and take very little effort. Anyone can make a positive impact through these small acts of caring!

In addition, making a small shift in the way we communicate can be a great kindness. Certainly, the way we listen and communicate with others can have a positive or a negative effect on their day. When we align our listening with caring, greater understanding is possible. When we align our communication with caring, our ideas and opinions are better received. Therefore, taking steps to intentionally align with caring can reduce conflict in our lives and create healthier connections with others. This small act of caring creates a very big impact, and costs nothing but your time and effort.  

Challenge yourself to small acts of caring each day to make an impact

A great way to spread more caring in the world is to challenge yourself to a daily act of caring. Can you imagine what an awesome world it would be if everyone did one extra act of caring each day? The impact would be amazing! UCA’s 365 Days of Caring Challenge gives daily caring prompts to help you create more caring in the world. Their daily caring challenges can help you to become more caring to your family, community and self. The prompts are easy to do and fun! By adding just one more caring act to your already caring lifestyle, you can really make a difference in the world!

To learn more about the caring resources offered by Unified Caring Association, please visit our website. Please enjoy our other caring blog posts: The privilege of a lifetime is being authentic and Slow down to improve your perceptive.

Charity Work, Connecting, Feel Good News, Sharing, Unified Caring Association

A Hero Spreads Holiday Caring to Fire Victims

 

The Camp Fire

When the news of the Camp Fire reached the Unified Caring Association (UCA) office our team was hopeful. We hoped that the fire would be quickly controlled. Our prayers went out to all humans and animals that they would escape the fires unharmed. And we sent our caring to fire victims. We were devastated to hear that the entire city of Paradise, California was incinerated. The news reported 18,793 structures were destroyed, and that the fire had spared nothing, leaving total devastation. Our hearts were broken, and we wondered how the survivors could go on. UCA reached out to various agencies in hope of finding a meaningful way to help. Understandably, emergency agencies were over-burdened with phone calls. Many lacked the manpower to handle the donations they were receiving. Luckily, our fearless team member Luna kept at it! She was determined to make sure that UCA extended our caring to fire victims. So, she kept making calls. Eventually, Luna made a connection with a wonderful woman named Nanette, and magic happened!

A Caring Hero

Nanette is a caring hero for many reasons. She runs a non-profit unrelated to the fire effort to begin with! Nanette had heard that her friend, a volunteer at her non-profit, had lost her home in the fire. Time went by and Nanette was unable to reach her. So, Nanette set out to find her friend. While searching for her friend, she saw first-hand the devastation of the Camp Fire. Luckily, her friend was located safely, and Nanette decided to create a caring event to help the fire victims. She set out to give those who had lost so much a caring holiday! Nanette researched the needs of the community and created a caring holiday event!

Some UCA Support

The UCA CARE team asked Nanette to share with us how she felt we could help the most. She explained that expectant mothers had lost everything in the fires – they had nothing for their newborns, no blankets, no clothes. We were told that the children had lost all of their toys and holiday cheer was in short supply. As a result, the UCA team of elves immediately swung into action! No baby item was left on the shelf! We bought baby sleepers, onesies, t-shirts, leggings, blankets, coats, socks, sweatpants, sweatshirts, pajamas and cozy clothes for toddlers. In addition, we also bought 80 gifts for children – backpacks, school supplies, plush animals so they would have something to hold, creative art kits and books.  Plus, we sent cheery Christmas decorations, notes of encouragement and … our hearts … we truly sent them our hearts.

A Caring Holiday Miracle

And so it was, on December 22 at the Eagle Lodge in Chico, California a holiday party was held. People who had lost everything came to celebrate the miracle of togetherness. Children sat on Santa’s lap and received their gifts. Families ate together and for a moment in time, caring filled a place in their hearts where fear and sadness had once taken hold.

Our hearts go out to all who suffered in the California fires this year. May they be cared for, supported and loved through the challenging days ahead as they rebuild their lives.  We are incredibly grateful to the firefighters and first responders that fearlessly serve and protect us all day after day. Our hearts are touched by all of the caring heroes in the world who miraculously appear when tragedy strikes. In tragedy, we are often reminded of the true value of caring. If there is caring in the world, we can never lose everything.

Charity Work, Feel Good News, Unified Caring Association

Cloaked in Caring

Unified Caring Association’s Women Wishing Women Well clothing collection uses all proceeds from clothing sales to support women.  If an article of clothing remains in the store for 8 weeks and is not sold, UCA donates the clothing article to women who are in challenging situations, such as domestic violence, abandonment, fires, earthquakes and floods.

This month, our program was pleased to donate 3 full boxes of high-end women’s clothing to the Women Giving Back (WGB) charity in Sterling, Virginia. They were especially excited to receive the many plus sized garments that we sent, as they are often difficult to source.

WGB is a nonprofit clothing boutique providing a dignified shopping experience for at-risk women & children at no cost. WGB collects and distributes new or like-new clothing to women and children in Northern Virginia who are in transition or crisis. Working with the local shelters and care providers, WGB holds a monthly “store” on the second Saturday of every month to help these women and their children. UCA is happy to support the caring work of WGB.

We also donated 12 garments from our store to Choices, a smaller resource group for women in crisis in Mt. Shasta, CA.   Choices is a non-profit organization that helps to infuse real hope and real help into the lives of women, men, mamas, daddies, grandparents, their little ones and families in our local communities. Thanks for your caring work, Choices!

https://www.unifiedcaring.org/

health care, Sharing, Unified Caring Association

Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

 

~Isn’t that simple? Simply Be Kind. It is contagious. A fascinating feature of kindness is that it self-replicating and inspiring kindness in others. When we ourselves perform an act of kindness, this is likely to encourage others to act in a similar way. One study conducted at Cambridge University found that seeing someone else helps […]

via Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

health care, Sharing, Unified Caring Association

Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Show Kindness — MakeItUltra™ Psychology

 

Written by Dr. Perry, PhD Image Credit: Pixabay This past weekend, I was out running errands that I wasn’t able to complete during the week. Between my work and personal life, I seem to be always running towards something. It feels as if my life is moving at a fast speed. I personally do not […]

via Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Show Kindness — MakeItUltra™ Psychology