Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying
In recent years, expressions such as “random acts of kindness” and “pay it forward” have gained popularity, which can be best described by people who have identified a need in their lives that can only be met by altruism.
It appears that there are valid reasons for our addiction to those addictive, feel-good emotions, as scientific studies have demonstrated that kindness has numerous physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Kindness has been linked to a variety of physical, emotional, and mental health benefits.
As children’s minds and bodies develop, it has become abundantly evident that they require a fair dose of the warm-and-fuzzies to thrive as healthy, happy, and well-rounded individuals in their adult lives.
Patty O’Grady, an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology, has a particular interest in educational research and practice. The experience of kindness, according to her, “alters the brain’s chemical composition.” Children and teenagers do not learn kindness simply by thinking about it and talking about it. They must experience it themselves. Being kind to others is best acquired through experience so that they can pass on their kindness.”
There have been numerous benefits identified in favour of kindness education in schools, the most notable of which are summarised in the following.
HAPPY, CARING CHILDREN
Endorphins are responsible for the pleasant sentiments that we get from doing good deeds for others. They have been shown to stimulate parts of the brain related to pleasure, social interaction, and trust. These sensations of happiness are contagious, motivating both the donor and the recipient to engage in more nice conduct (also known as altruism). Acts of kindness assist us in forming connections with people, which is a significant component in enhancing happiness in many studies.
A stronger sense of belonging as well as an increase in self-esteem
When people perform a nice deed, studies have shown that they feel a “helper’s high.” This rush of endorphins provides a long-lasting sensation of pride, well-being, and belonging in the person who experiences it. It has been claimed that even modest acts of kindness can boost our sense of well-being, increase our vitality, and provide a fantastic sense of optimism and self-worth to those who participate.
GREATER SENSE OF BELONGING AND IMPROVED SELF-ESTEEM
According to findings from research on prosocial conduct among teens, being nice boosts our popularity as well as our ability to create meaningful connections with other individuals. A significant aspect of children’s happiness is their ability to be liked by their peers, and it has been established that doing good deeds can lead to increased peer acceptability. Because of an even distribution of popularity, better-than-average mental health has been documented in schools that practise more inclusive conduct than the national average.
INCREASED PEER ACCEPTANCE
It is possible to acquire a range of physical and mental health benefits by being kind to others. Performing altruistic acts causes the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has been shown to greatly improve a person’s feeling of happiness while simultaneously decreasing stress levels. Oxytocin also has a protective effect on the heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing free radicals and inflammation, all of which have been shown to accelerate the ageing process in humans.
IMPROVED HEALTH AND LESS STRESS
When youngsters participate in activities that benefit those who are less fortunate than themselves, they gain a genuine sense of perspective, which helps them to appreciate their good fortune even more. Being kind allows kids to appreciate what they have, makes them feel helpful, and promotes empathy in the process of giving.
INCREASED FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE
Because it raises serotonin levels in the brain, kindness is a critical component of increasing optimism and making youngsters feel good about themselves. This critical molecule has an impact on learning, memory, mood, sleep, health, and digestion, among other things. Increased attention spans, higher learning willingness, and better creative thinking in children with an optimistic perspective help them achieve better academic performance in school.
BETTER CONCENTRATION AND IMPROVED RESULTS
Dr Wayne Dyer, an internationally famous author and speaker, explains that performing a kind deed boosts the levels of serotonin in the body, a natural chemical that is responsible for increasing mood. This increase in enjoyment occurs not just in the person who is the recipient of kindness, but also in anyone who observes the act of kindness.
Penn State Harrisburg faculty researchers Shanetia Clark and Barbara Marinak state, “Unlike past generations, today’s teens are victimising each other at alarming rates,” according to their research findings. They are firm believers that in-school programmes that incorporate “kindness—the antithesis of victimisation” can effectively combat adolescent bullying and violence.
Anti-bullying programmes that are traditional in nature focus on the negative behaviours that generate anxiety in youngsters. It is when children are taught how to transform their thoughts and actions through the study of kindness and compassion that they are more likely to engage in the positive behaviour that is anticipated and naturally rewards them with friendship. Bullying must be reduced by promoting its psychological polar opposite to build friendly and inclusive educational settings, according to research.
Maurice Elias, a professor in the Psychology Department at Rutgers University, is also a proponent of compassion in educational institutions. He states the following:
It seems evident to me, as a citizen, a grandfather, a father, and a working professional, that the aim of schools must include the teaching of kindness. Without it, communities, families, schools, and classrooms devolve into hostile environments where long-term learning is difficult to occur… When it comes to teaching kindness, we must be prepared because it can be delayed as a result of maltreatment received early in life. When people are oppressed by poverty, they can become victimised later in life, and this can cause them to become despondent. Kindness is something that can be taught, and it is a defining characteristic of civilised human existence. It has a place in every household, school, community, and societal environment.
Modern education should include more than simply academics, and matters of the heart must be treated with seriousness and cultivated as a matter of priority.