A first of its kind study has calculated how many acts of kindness Australians perform each week and discovered that we miss out on roughly two billion each year.
When looking at the measly two billion figure, it’s safe to say the lack of kindness shown ‘online’ was left out of the study for that would be more likely around the infinity number.
McCrindle developed the Helga’s Kindness Index after examining the state of kindness and surveying 3,520 Australians nation wide in June this year.
The score is based on a variety of characteristics, including behaviour, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings related to the three kindness virtues of empathy, altruism, and reflection.
The comprehensive study has revealed a positive index score of 74, with Gen Z scoring the highest with a 77. It’s not all that surprising that Gen Z has come out on top – have you seen a boomer interact with wait staff? That’s bringing them down a few points.
Interestingly the results varied state to state. The index found the Northern Territory and Tasmania are the most welcoming states, both scoring 82 percent while Western Australia is the most encouraging at 61 percent.
Something all three of these states have in common is a lack of lockdowns. As a Victorian, I would be more welcoming and encouraging to a person if I ever saw one.
While Aussies have a high overall kindness score, the index found that two-thirds of us confront obstacles to being kind, such as not knowing how our generosity will be regarded or feeling out of our comfort zone. While the average Australian performs 16 acts of kindness per week, those who face difficulties perform 3.5 fewer acts. Each year, 2.37 billion acts of kindness are lost as a result of this.
It seems even more understandable we face these difficulties in a COVID world.
Say someone drops their bag of oranges (keep up your Vitamin c everyone) and they go rolling over the floor and land at my feet. Where once I would have without doubt helped picked them up I now pause to interrogate myself, ‘do they want me touching their oranges?’ ‘I just sanitised but they don’t know that’, ‘I should just ask them…but I haven’t spoken to anyone but my dog in a week, what if I use an accidental tone or say ‘good boy’?’ You get my point.
The study found Australians are most likely to show kindness through words (73%) while the top three most performed acts of kindness are:
● Holding the lift door open for someone (72%)
● Giving someone a compliment (68%)
● Asking if someone is ok (67%)
I didn’t know holding the lift for someone was considered kind – I figured it was doing the minimum you should for a fellow human. In fact, if someone doesn’t hold a door for me I have fake arguments with that A-hole in my head the rest of the day.
The next time someone holds a door for me I’m going to return the kindness and offer a compliment like ‘Has anyone ever told you you’re great at holding doors? You must be from the NT, right?’
Social researcher, author, and kindness consultant, Hugh Mackay shared some tips on how Aussies can be kinder:
shares his top tips:
● Don’t let ego and self-protection get in the way. Be kind, even if you don’t know how it will be received.
● Practice more kindness. By doing this, you’ll be more alert to the kindness you're receiving.
● When reflecting on your day, ask yourself was I kind today?
Main Image: AAP Images