Though some shoppers have been panic-buying toilet paper and sanitizer against expert advice, there’s a much bigger trend happening during this pandemic—empathy. In his latest op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki explores how COVID-19 has sparked a “global epidemic of kindness.”
For every news story there is about toilet paper hoarding, there are about 10 more that describe people supporting one another during the coronavirus—heartwarming stories of people delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors, or restaurants pivoting to food relief efforts. “Disasters rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other,” writes Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness. “They shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity. That’s why, in times of crisis, we are usually eager to help strangers, in what the essayist Rebecca Solnit has called a ‘carnival of compassion.’”
This type of altruism isn’t just helpful to our communities. It’s also beneficial for our individual health. Zaki writes, “We often think of altruism as a transfer, in which one person sacrifices to benefit another. But well-being is not a zero-sum game: When we devote our time and money to other people, we feel happier.” In other words, kindness can relieve stress, soothe pain, improve our mood, and generally keep us healthier.
Read his full article here.
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