Mason Chooses Kindness Helps Patriots Build Well-Being by Being Kind
by Whitney Hopler, Communications Director
A new well-being initiative from our center and University Life called Mason Chooses Kindness (MCK) is encouraging Patriots to create and sustain an infectious kindness revolution at Mason during this academic year.
“This is a great time for the Mason community to engage in intentional acts of kindness,” said Rose Pascarell, Vice President of University Life. “As Patriots, we can create a culture of compassion that values and uplifts all students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”
We define kindness as, “Intentionally engaging in positive actions that are friendly, caring, and compassionate towards self and others.” MCK will feature a variety of kindness-related events and resources (such as articles and videos) for the Mason community.
Highlights of MCK events so far include a guided kindness meditation walk, a leadership and kindness connection hour, and assembling care packages for local first responders, hospital staff, teachers, police, and those without homes. More events will be planned regularly.
Patriots can follow MCK on its social media channels and share stories of giving and receiving kindness by using the hashtag #MasonChoosesKindness. They can also use these Mason Chooses Kindness e-card templates to send messages to people they would like to encourage.
“Mason Chooses Kindness is designed to seed a culture of compassion and connection as we continue to prioritize well-being at the university,” reflected Nance Lucas, Ph.D., MCK Co-Chair and CWB Executive Director and Chief Well-Being Officer. “This also is an initiative that connects people across differences and encourages acts of advocating for others by standing up to injustices, which are intentional acts of kindness. Our world is yearning for more compassion and kindness.”
“It seemed appropriate to have a galvanizing theme that focused on the good of our community in a time where in many instances we are divided,” noted Lewis Forrest, MCK Co-Chair and Associate Dean of University Life. “There are so many benefits to giving and receiving kindness. A kind word, a note to a friend/colleague or stepping into a difficult conversation with empathy and kindness are ways we can thrive together.”
Research shows that there are many well-being benefits of being kind – from more energy and happiness to less stress and anxiety. Choosing kindness can also be a valuable part of education. “Soft skills” such as kindness are in demand during this stressful time of multiple crises and polarization in our nation’s culture. When people practice kindness intentionally (not just randomly), they develop a habit that can regularly strengthen their character and relationships.
Forrest and Lucas invite everyone to get involved. “We’re making the tent as big as possible for participation – anyone who would like to be involved can help with events and initiatives by volunteering or joining one of our working committees. We hope everyone will join us and find at least one thing to participate in, even if it means taking a step to show kindness to someone you don’t know.” Email MCK@gmu.edu to get involved.