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Oct 13, 2021 Read in Browser

Karuna News

What we already know is that acting kindly makes us feel good, but how exactly? In this week’s Karuna News, this fact is backed by neuroscience confirming that not only do acts of kindness have a contagious effect, but they also produce a warm glow that shows up in our brain’s reward system. This extraordinary effect is witnessed in practice in a diverse community in NYC's Bronx, where college students document pandemic stories of locals with surprising findings: unprecedented adversity gave rise to resounding resilience. We trace this phenomenon further away to a riverside restaurant in Thailand that transformed floods into a community dining experience, to a legally blind marathon runner and her guides in Minnesota, and to 50 thousand people who responded to a tweet from a father in England sharing his autistic teen’s simple birthday wish to make new friends. This and many more stories this week are a striking proof that one act of kindness can have a seismic ripple effect across the universe.

BUSINESS

Riverside Restaurant Makes Waves In Thailand As Flood Dining Goes Viral

Riverside Restaurant Makes Waves In Thailand As Flood Dining Goes Viral

Soe Zeya Tun | Reuters

Riverside restaurant owner Titiporn Jutimanon was convinced a bout of flooding in Thailand could be the end of a business already struggling from the pandemic. But with the rising tide of the Chao Phraya River came an unexpected opportunity. Instead of closing for the floods, Titiporn's eatery is making waves in Thailand, staying open for customers who are reveling in shin-deep dining and the thrill of avoiding the rush of water set off as boats go by. "Customers absolutely love the waves," said Titiporn, who runs the Chao Phraya Antique Café in Nonthaburi, north of Bangkok. Read Full Story.

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ARTS

Stories Of Community Resilience Shine Through The Bronx Pandemic Experience

Stories Of Community Resilience Shine Through The Bronx Pandemic Experience

Vonecia Carswell | Unsplash

When six Fordham University students launched the Bronx COVID-19 Oral History Project 18 months ago, they kept hearing stories of resilience. It echoes what researchers have found as they study post-traumatic stress -- people can emerge stronger, with a deeper sense of their place in the world. Their interviews with 24 teachers, families, artists, and community leaders revealed "a dedicated, authentic, and human picture of the Bronx unlike any project has seen before," said two of the students. "Despite one of the darkest eras of the city in recent memory, the light of community, family, and perseverance shone through in the voices of the Bronx COVID-19 Project." Read Full Story.

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COMMUNITY

Teenager With Autism Said He Wished To Make Friends. On His Birthday, 55 Thousand People Sent Him Messages.

Teenager With Autism Said He Wished To Make Friends. On His Birthday, 55 Thousand People Sent Him Messages.

Nick Fewings | Unsplash

Daniel Harrison, who has autism, recently wrote down two wishes – and one of them came true. "Daniel, for the first time, was asked at his special needs school to write down two things that he's like to achieve. His first was to learn to drive and the second thing – which surprised us – was 'make some friends' because we didn't understand that he understood the theory of friendship," said Daniel's Dad, Kevin Harrison. He posted about his son's wish on Twitter on his son's 15th birthday and was stunned by the response. With over 55,000 comments, the post was for a time the number one trending topic on Twitter in the US. Celebrities and parents of other children with autism chimed in and sent Daniel birthday wishes. Daniel jumped for joy at some of the responses. "It made me happy for Daniel, but you know, it's made me happy for parents and families and friends of autistic people across the globe," said Kevin Harrison. Read Full Story.

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SPORTS

She Lost Her Vision, But Not Her Determination To Run A Marathon

She Lost Her Vision, But Not Her Determination To Run A Marathon

Evan Frost | MPR News

On May 27, Laura Sosalla messaged Rachael Bentley through United in Stride, which matches visually impaired runners with guides. Sosalla, declared legally blind this year after battling COVID-19, wanted to run the Twin Cities marathon. They began running together, along with Bentley's sister Natalie Elmore and Sosalla's neighbor Laura Brennan. Elmore guided for the first half, Bentley for the second half. Both wore neon tags to identify them as running guides, so other runners would give adequate space. All four ran the last mile together. "The outpouring of support, the outpouring of love was overwhelming," says Sosalia. "Like even to this moment, I can't fully grasp the level of generosity and kindness." Read Full Story.

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INSPIRATION

Perspectives From Psychology Research On Doing Kind Deeds

Perspectives From Psychology Research On Doing Kind Deeds

Pixabay | Pexels

In the last decade, developmental psychologist Robin Banerjee found that the number of research papers in psychology journals about kindness increased to more than 1000 compared to just 35 in the 1980s. Each paper offers a different perspective on the positive effects of kindness. One study conducted by Elizabeth Dunn showed that people who spent their money on someone else felt significantly happier than spending it on themselves regardless of the monetary amount. Another paper found that the warm glow we feel from doing kind deeds also lights up our brain's reward system. Still another research study on students with social anxiety found that those who did kind acts for others experienced a reduction in their symptoms. Sussex University neuroscientist Dan Campbell-Meiklejohn says, "We experience a sense of reward in parts of our brain when we are kind to others, just as we do when we eat yummy food or have a pleasant surprise. These parts of the brain become active and motivate us to do them again and again." Read Full Story.

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