17 August, 2021
AUSTRALIANS NEED TO EMBRACE KINDNESS AS FIRST OF ITS KIND STUDY
17 August, 2021: While there might never have been a time when Australia felt more separated, a comprehensive study undertaken into the state of kindness across the country has revealed a positive index score of 74, with Gen Z bucking stereotypes and scoring the highest (77). However, barriers to being kind are resulting in more than two billion acts of kindness being withheld. The Helga’s Kindness Index, developed by McCrindle, is the first-of-its-kind index examining the state of kindness in Australia, after surveying 3,520 Australians nationally in June this year. The score is calculated based on several factors including behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings towards the three kindness virtues of empathy, altruism and reflection.
● 3,520 Australians were surveyed in a first-of-its-kind report into kindness across Australia
● Generosity (altruism) and empathy where the top kindness virtues displayed
● On average, Aussies perform 16 acts of kindness a week (more than two a day)
● Two thirds of us often hold back from performing an act of kindness for a number of reasons, including not knowing how it will be received
● Being open to kindness and overcoming those barriers, could see an additional 2.37 billion acts of kindness given each year
● Australia received a Kindness Index Score of 74, with Gen Z receiving the highest at 77
The Index revealed that while we have a high overall kindness score, two thirds of us (65 per cent) face barriers to being kind, such as not knowing how our kindness might be perceived or feeling out of our comfort zone. While Aussies perform an average of 16 acts of kindness a week, those who experience barriers perform 3.5 fewer acts. This is resulting in a loss of 2.37 billion acts of kindness each year.
“The Kindness Index shows that Aussies are looking for more acts of kindness in their every day, such as saying ‘hi’ to someone on the street, checking-in on friends and neighbours or preparing a meal for someone. It’s these small, but heartfelt gestures, that can make a big difference in someone's day,” says Mark McCrindle, Futurist, Social Researcher and Principal at McCrindle.
Aussies are altruistic at their core
One of the indicators of altruism, generosity, is particularly high among Aussies with seven in ten (72 per cent) seeing themselves as generous. Two thirds of us (64 per cent) believe people have good intentions when they first meet them and 57 per cent go out of their way to show kindness by encouraging other people, most of the time.
Kindness begins with empathy
More than half the population (57 per cent) display strong empathy, considering the needs of others all the time or very often, while three in four of us (77 per cent) consider ourselves welcoming.
“The Helga’s Kindness Index is something we’re looking to undertake annually to understand the state of kindness in Australia and how this can shift over time. This is part of Helga’s commitment to contributing to a kinder Australia,” says Belinda Elworthy, Helga’s Head of Retail Marketing & Category. “74 is a great score but we believe there’s more we can be doing to spread kindness in our neighbourhoods, which will have a positive impact on helping Australians to feel happier, healthier and more connected.”
Looking at kindness on a geographical level, each state and territory shone differently. The Index found the Northern Territory and Tasmania are the most welcoming states (both 82 per cent), Western Australia is the most encouraging (61 per cent) and New South Wales is the most patient (63 per cent).
Australians are most likely to show kindness through words (73 percent) while the top three most commonly performed acts of kindness are:
● Holding the lift door open for someone (72 per cent)
● Giving someone a compliment (68 per cent)
● Asking if someone is ok (67 per cent)
Food is a popular way to show kindness, with almost four in five (78 per cent) believing that sharing a meal with friends and family is a powerful way to display kindness. Meanwhile two thirds (62 per cent) of Aussies believe that helping out our neighbours is something we should do more of.
Social researcher, author and kindness consultant, Hugh Mackay says kindness is our natural state of being, “We are a social species that relies on kindness for harmony with one another.
these kind interactions that sustain and nurture us. During times of turmoil, which Australia and the world has experienced over the last 18 months, we often reflect on life and use it as a chance to reset. Kindness helps us deal with these tough times and heal.”
So, how can Aussies be kinder? Hugh shares his top tips:
● Don’t let ego and self protection get in the way. Be kind, even if you don’t know how it will be received.
● Practice more kindness. By doing this, you’ll be more alert to the kindness you're receiving.
● When reflecting on your day, ask yourself was I kind today?
Helga’s has a number of projects aimed at spreading kindness across the country, including donating their bread to Foodbank. It is also being kinder to the planet, with the introduction of 100 percent recyclable bread bags and 100 percent renewable electricity in their Goodman Fielder Operated bakeries. To encourage Australians to share more kindness, Helga’s is launching packaging with ‘KindeR codes’ that can be scanned to reveal inspirational acts of kindness.
To understand the state of kindness in Australia visit helgas.com.au/kindness. For inspiration on how you can increase kindness in your community visit @helgaskindness.