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Kindness: A New Documentary Is Spreading the Word

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Good Virus: Kindness Is Contagious, by documentary filmmaker, David Gaz explores the idea of kindness as an emotional contagion, and a force for good in the world.

Narrated by the bestselling author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, the movie shows how the kindness virus spreads, multiplying through society -- individual by individual. When just one person in a given situation feels an emotion, and then acts upon that feeling to make a difference in someone's life -- it winds up spreading to everyone that person's connected to.

"A genuine act of kindness makes me feel like I really am where you cut underneath anything external, and you become what a human being can really be. It's like coming home when you give kindness. Kindness changes us, as human beings." -- Catherine Ryan Hyde, Bestselling Author

Good Virus speaks to our capacity to fully understand quality of life situations and scenarios, by offering multiple perspectives -- from human behavior scientists to people on the street. Bringing in the perspective of a community conscious roller derby team to present the differences between acting aggressively in a sport as opposed to being an aggressive human being is a stroke of genius.

"A few weeks after I had the idea to make a documentary on the subject of kindness, I was at a gas station and a homeless man asked me for money. Instead, I offered to buy him something to eat at the Mini-Mart next door. His eyes lit up. I told the woman behind the counter to give him anything he wanted. He ordered the cheapest item on the menu, but I upgraded him. Would you like to get the foot-long with roast beef and cheese? How about a milkshake, chips, and a dessert? We left the store with a couple of bags of food, and a guy in a pick-up drove up, leaned out his window and said, "You sir, are a good man!" And I thought, the man who said that will do the same thing someday. That's when the idea of contagious kindness hit home for me, and it just snowballed from there." -- David Gaz, Documentary Filmmaker

How to obtain happiness is becoming a hot topic, and advances in neuroscience are showing how helping others is a clear route to reaching one's happy place. One of the provable notions behind Good Virus, is that emotional kindness is something that can be transmitted and actually change lives. We're in a world where neuroscience can prove that emotions are no longer gooey intangibles, but real quantifiable substances.

Kindness is often reciprocal, as social networks have shown. Generosity and cooperation, in the form of kindness spreads by good deeds and positive interactions. Social networks have the possibility of exponentially changing culture, on a global basis. Sounds like the way social media is supposed to work, doesn't it?

"We, I believe, are in the midst of a social revolution. We've had 20 years of massive self interest that's gotten us into a lot of deep trouble. We have financial collapses and we have global warming, and the revolution is reorienting toward kindness as a way to solve some of these problems." -- Dacher Keltner, Director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Look around your community, city, country and ask, "Is a true kindness movement underway, and if not, isn't this the exact cultural moment there should be a kindness movement starting?"

Good Virus: Kindness is Contagious delves into the ways people benefit from being in touch with and promoting kindness.

• Kind people fare better in the mating game, since the most important character trait people look for in a partner is kindness, more than good looks or money.

• Kind people experience better overall physical health.

• People who volunteer and follow these types of caring impulses live longer.

• When societies trigger the kindness element, a greater number of people receive the social benefits. A simple touch can help people be kinder, and more thoughtful.

Imagine kindness as a good virus, and think about how it spreads by good intentions coupled with kind actions. In a world that often seems filled with every social element but kindness, maybe it's not too late to begin a kindness revolution.