Kindness Factory founder Kath Koschel shows the benefits of being KIND.
How 16 acrs of kindness a week give us strength and improve our lives.
HOW TO BE MORE KIND
Increased productivity, better health, greater self-esteem, and mental clarity are some of the benefits of kindness, experts say.
Kindness Factory founder Kath Koschel says kindness is too often regarded as a soft skill but, having developed the kinder side to herself through shocking adversity, she sees it as a personal and social strength.
“Kindness is the ultimate strength,’’ Koschel says.
“The most common reason I hear people use about not being kind is that they don’t have enough time. But kindness makes us more productive, able to experience things on a deeper level and absorb information more easily.”
Research suggests Australians are largely a kind nation, with data collection and analysis company McCrindle finding the average Australian performs 16 acts of kindness a week through their words, actions and time they give.
“Kindness inspires kindness,’’ she says.
“You’re then more inclined to go help someone or to receive kindness. It’s euphoric because you’re in the highest oxytocin (love hormones) state when giving or receiving.”
Koschel, 34, has broken her back twice, each time making the traumatic journey from wheelchair to walking again with the kindness and care of medical teams.
In November 2015 she founded the Kindness Factory with a goal of encouraging and inspiring a million acts of kindness. Presently, 4.25 million acts are registered on her website.
“I never have a bad day,” she says.
GLUE FOR SOCIETY
Hush Foundation chair Professor Catherine Crock, who also performs bone marrow and lumbar punctures at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, says incivility or rudeness in the workplace, especially a high-pressured environment such as a hospital, is unsafe.
“It leads to things going wrong, erodes confidence and restricts your mental ability to cope so you go into a brain freeze,” Crock says.
“But I’d like this to be a society-wide conversation so there’s a social movement towards kindness because it’s the glue for society. We need more of it, especially in these times. The way forward is by looking after each other and our planet. It’s about kindness across the board.”
Crock says she begins her surgical procedures with a “speed kindness session” among her team. It’s a different team each morning so they form a hub, each member introduces themselves and they’re asked if they’re OK or have any challenges.
“We’re all working together as an efficient, safe team,” she says.
“It’s respectful and joyful.”
DEDICATED TO HELP
World Kindness Day on November 13 is already bringing out the best in corporate Australia. Black Pepper apparel retailer launched a search for the kindest Australian to celebrate the day and one of the star entrants, Soraya Knapp, has dedicated her entire life to kindness.
She was working in palliative care when the pandemic broke out and she was called to work as a refugee health nurse vaccinating and testing patients for Covid. She’s always regarded nursing as a calling but even she says Covid was terrifying.
Aside from nursing, she goes to the local bakery to collect their unsold food and take it to people in need, obtaining a permit during Covid to travel to various suburbs.
For eight years she’s worked for the Big Umbrella charity, catching a train with a girlfriend every Wednesday and Thursday night to travel 90 minutes to chop food in an industrial kitchen in the city, cook it, pack it into a van and distribute the food to hundreds of homeless people at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
On Christmas Day she helps make, and share, dinner with the people she regards as her friends who are always kind to her.
“It’s so cold for them in winter,” she says. “My electric blanket is on when I get home after my husband picks me up at the station and he has a warm cuppa waiting for me so I don’t complain.”
Born and raised in South Africa under apartheid, she’s so grateful to live in Australia but also understands fragility.
“We never know what tomorrow brings,” she says.
- Give yourself some love.
- Leave a positive review for a small business you love.
- Compliment someone (less on appearance and more on a personal quality).
- Leave an encouraging note on a colleague’s desk
- Chat to a homeless person.
- Tell someone what they mean to you.
- Interrupt a conflict.
- Tell someone a truth they need to hear.
Source: Kath Koschel, Kindness Factory
Kindness Factory is on a mission to make the world a kinder place.