Professor emeritus Doug Carnine reviewed the rapidly growing body of scientific findings about kindness, which is another way to think of service over self. Extending kindness beyond volunteering and bringing it into our homes and our workplaces is a surprisingly powerful force for happiness, health, long life and loving relationships.

In spite of the benefits of kindness, society promotes competing values (materialism and extreme individualism) that explain in part the decrease in memberships and increase in average age of members of all service clubs, not just Rotary.

Here are a few notes from his presentation:

  • Societal Obstacles in Volunteerism
    • Materialism
    • Social connections reduced
      • Suicide rates on the rise
  • Narcism increase = care decrease, empathy decrease, fellowship decrease.
  • Greater detriment to health than obesity, heart disease.
  • Kindness campaign is needed. Entice the “me” generation with a benefit to them. Once they start, eventually they get more out of it than what they “can get.”
  • Showing kindness to your spouse cuts your risk of death in half.
  • Hormones (oxytocin) is the love glue between partners and parent and child. Oxytocin via being kind can heal wounds faster than without.
  • Offering and receiving kindness increases oxytocin.
  • Kindness is undervalued in the US because of our obsession with the sense of self and materialism.
  • Volunteerism warms your heart, which extends your life. Don’t volunteer for personal gain. Your life expectancy is the same for people who don’t volunteer.
  • Sustainable givers are the most successful. Networking out of care to connect people together that may benefit each other. This leads to reduced stress and generally happier moods.
  • Mindfulness works hand in hand with kindness.

When Doug Carnine spoke to us a few weeks ago, he was just completing his website and did not have the site address. He has now let us know that his website can be accessed here.