Paying It Forward Through Coffee & Kindness

   Paying It Forward Through Coffee & Kindness

Someone once said, “kindness is contagious,” and we’d like to add to this phrase, submitting that kindness is absolutely life changing.

Even science backs up this premise, with experts noting that those benefiting from kindness simply do not “go back to being their old selfish self.”

Now, of course no one likes to think of themselves as selfish, but some folks truly are less comfortable getting involved than others. For some, performing acts of kindness may seem intimidating, and for others, they may not know just how easy it is to pay it forward.

April 28th is globally recognized as Pay It Forward Day, and this day specifically honors the notion of spreading or repaying kindness, giving each and every one of us a stage set for success, a day where we can send out ripples of kindness reverberating across space and time!

Wait, are we really claiming that spreading kindness, something perhaps as simple as paying for someone’s coffee, can spread in such a way? Yes!

If you think that sounds a little far-fetched or over ambitious, join us as we explore the reverberating effects of spreading kindness!

The Science Of Spreading Kindness

We’ll definitely dive into some practical ways to pay it forward, but first we wanted to share with you what science has to say about this practice.

Researchers have found that people imitate positive actions. And, while this notion alone speaks volumes to how far reaching acts of kindness can truly be, these findings show how paying it forward can benefit your health as well.

You see, studies show the actual spirit behind positive actions is also contagious.

Psychologically speaking, kindness affects your brain.

When you are kind to others, you experience feelings of satisfaction and well-being as the pleasure centers of your brain activate, releasing serotonin and dopamine.

Even thinking about spreading kindness, or receiving it, can positively change your brain.

These brain effects can also make you feel more connected to others, leading to reduced rates of anxiety and depression while improving self-esteem and empathy.

Spreading kindness can also benefit your heart, as such acts have been proven to lower blood pressure, cortisol, and overall stress levels.

Now, don’t get it wrong here, we’re not pointing out these body benefits to say paying it forward should be self-serving. But, each of these physical and psychological effects can open the door for folks to live happier lives, which in turn spreads joy to all those around us.

When we pay it forward, we think outside of our own self and circumstances, and this inspires others to do the same.

Spreading kindness reminds each of us that we can make a difference.

Across space, kindly supporting a cause you believe in can change lives in areas of the world you may never physically visit.

Or, locally speaking, you never know how you can change the course of someone’s day, week, or life when you share kindness. One small act can prompt another, positively affecting the lives of folks you may never meet.

Across time, like often begets like.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says we’re an average of the five people we spend the most time with. So, consider the imprint left on the hearts and minds of your children, your friends’ children, or those generations that follow you in society, when they regularly see you paying it forward?

When we say paying it forward leads to ripples of kindness spreading throughout space and time, we’re thinking of the precedent set for future generations and the reach such simple acts can have.

Paying it forward doesn’t just affect the next person in line behind you at a coffee shop, it positively impacts your mind, your health, those on the receiving end of such kindness, and all those looking on, witnessing the world changing right before their eyes, inspiring equal and greater acts of generosity and compassion.

So then, what are some ways we can pay it forward?

  1. Suspended Coffee

 Most of us have heard of cappuccinos, cafe mochas, or cafe lattes, as these Italian originals have become coffee staples across the globe.

But, have you ever heard of a caffe sospeso?

Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, in Naples, Italy, a tradition was born, one where customers of cafes would spread compassion and kindness by paying in advance for a cup of coffee to be given to someone else, particularly someone in need.

This original coffee house act of paying it forward was known as caffe sospeso, or suspended coffee. And, since this time, the concept has gained great popularity, even becoming an official Neapolitan tradition in 2011 when a day was set aside to commemorate the practice: National Suspended Coffee Day.

So, if you’re looking for a way to pay it forward coffee-style, plan to order a caffe sospeso during your next visit to your local cafe, purchasing an extra cup (or two) along with your own that can be a blessing to someone in need at a later time.

2- Coffee And Compliments

Besides paying in advance for someone else’s cup of joe, you can also follow the continuing trend of paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line at your local cafe.

In true pay it forward fashion, many initiate this gesture with a request, asking in return that the recipient pay for the next person’s brew, and so on.

This is a common and kind practice many of you are likely familiar with, but as we also believe in the power of a compliment, we’re suggesting here that this act of kindness can be twofold.

So, while you’re in line ready to pay it forward with a cup of coffee, be sure to compliment at least 1, preferably 2 or 3, folks nearby.

Say a kind word or give a compliment to the barista, to the first person you see as you enter the cafe, or to someone you perceive may be in dire need of that pick-me-up.

So, pay for coffee, but also pay a compliment or two while you’re at it.

David Nozar