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JoyBinge 2.2: Big Steve

[Listen to the episode here or on SoundCloud through the links below! Artwork by James Cole

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge! I am Kimmy and I am Sinow, and we share good stories about good people doing good things! Get ready to binge on some joy!


Why being kind could help you live longer

  • Written by Lauren Turner for BBC News

  • Today (the day we recorded) is Wednesday, November 13th, also known as World Kindness Day!

  • Researchers from UCLA’s Bedari Kindness institute have been anticipating this day by looking into what it means to be kind and how it affects our lives

  • Daniel Fessler is the institute’s inaugural director and told Turner, “We look at the scientific point of view. We aren't sitting around in circles, holding hands. We're talking about the psychology, the biology, of positive social interactions.”

  • Fessler defined kindness as, “the thoughts, feelings and beliefs associated with actions intending to benefit others, where benefiting others is an end in itself, not a means to an end”, while unkindness is, “intolerant beliefs, the lack of valuation of others' welfare.”

  • He went on to say, “I think it's fair to say we live in an unkind age right now...Both domestically in the United States and around the world, what we are seeing is increasing conflict between individuals who hold different political views or belong to different religions."

  • Fessler even went on to comment about the lack of kindness online, “people are more likely to be aggressive, less likely to value others' concerns and welfare, the more anonymous they are.”

  • The research projects are aimed to understand how “contagious kindness” works and according to Mr. Matthew Harris, who granted $20 million with partner Jennifer Harris to the institute, “‘to understand why kindness can be so scarce in this modern world’ and to ‘bridge the divide between science and spirituality.’”

  • The article lists several projects currently underway at the institute,

  • “Anthropologists examining how kindness spreads between people”,

  • “Sociologists analysing how those who behave unkindly could be persuaded to be kind”,

  • “Psychologists researching how kindness can improve mood and reduce depression symptoms”,

  • “...providing students with mindfulness training and those in underserved Los Angeles communities”

  • Fessler identifies two types of stress:

  • “...bad stress - the kind where you can’t do anything about a challenging situation…”

  • “...good stress from challenging but satisfying activities, like rock climbing”

  • Clearly bad stress is harmful while good stress is beneficial

  • Fessler goes on to tell Turner, “Living with people who treat you, at best, with disregard or a lack of concern, and at worst with open hostility, is bad for you. It shortens your life, quite literally...Conversely, both receive kindness from others, and providing kindness, both of those things are the antithesis of this toxic stress situation. And they’re both good for you...Engaging in kindness, contemplating how you can be kind to others, lowers blood pressure. It has therapeutic benefits...There are benefits for treating depression and anxiety.”

  • The article reports, “Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding has been examining the phenomenon in her recent book, The Rabbit Effect. She says: ‘It helps the immune system, blood pressure, it helps people to live longer and better. It's pretty amazing because there's an ample supply and you can't overdose on it. There's a free supply. It's right there.’"

  • The title of her book comes from an interesting story she learned through her research, “I heard about this study of rabbits, back in the 1970s. One set had better outcomes and they wanted to find out what was going on. It turned out the rabbits doing better were under the care of one really kind researcher. As a doctor, I was absolutely shocked. It felt like there was an urgent message.”

  • Harding goes on to tell Turner, “There are so many ways to foster kindness to ourselves and to others. In the workplace, at school and at home, being compassionate leads to better outcomes...In medicine, the technology may be getting better but you can never replicate the kindness of a supportive caregiver. The connection between mental health and physical health is so critical.”

  • Darnell Hunt is the UCLA social sciences division dean and told Turner, “I think we're living in a time where there's a direct need to step back and explore the things that make us human and that have the potential to lead to more humane societies...We are living in a moment of political polarisation in the United States and elsewhere, with increased urbanisation leading to less direct interactions between people."

  • He went on to say, “It's not a case of us being here in an ivory tower. We want to translate this research into how people in the real world can use this to create policy and make a difference.”

  • The article included 4 tips of practicing kindness:

  • “Truly start listening to others (instead of already formulating the answer in your head)

  • “Answer rudeness with kindness (think of someone being extremely snippy to you, then say in a friendly tone, ‘did you have a hard day?’. You will have already diffused the moment)

  • “Include someone who is on the sidelines. By doing this, you have valued them - it’s dehumanising to go through life unnoticed, unwanted and unloved

  • “Action/reaction. Understand when there is unkindness, it is not about you. When you are triggered, take a deep breath and step back”

Homeslice: Scotland Edition

ScotRail employee praised for actions that saved a life

  • Written by Jenness Mitchell for STV News on Sept 10, 2019 but we are going to pretend this wasn’t 2+ months ago ;-P

  • ScotRail is a popular public transit system used throughout Scotland. Edinburgh, however, recently had a disaster avoided due to the actions of one observant employee

  • The article reports, “Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer in Edinburgh's Haymarket station on Thursday, August 8.”

  • Earlier in the summer, ScotRail had implemented a new training. The article goes on to say, “Mr Harvie, from Edinburgh, is one of over 50 ScotRail employees who recently received mental health first aid training, allowing him to provide guidance and signpost support services to anyone experiencing problems.”

  • Mitchell reported Harvie’s response to the incident, “As one of the thousands of people working on the frontline of Scotland's Railway, I know how important a role I have in helping vulnerable people. The mental health first aid training I received was really helpful in giving me valuable skills to notice the signs of a person in need. I am really happy that I was able to use those skills and play a part in helping to potentially save someone's life."

  • Noticing someone acting distressed in public can be stressful in and of itself. However, sometimes the best thing is to do the simplest: just smiling at them and saying hello.

  • Mitchell reported the response of someone else from ScotRail, “Phil Campbell, ScotRail's head of customer operations, said: ‘It's fantastic to see that our mental health training has had a positive effect and I'm proud to have Christopher represent ScotRail, but it doesn't take training to make a difference. I'd encourage anyone who sees someone who they think may be at risk to offer a simple smile and a hello. It can change someone's mindset and make a huge difference to not just their lives, but the lives of their friends and family.’"

  • But Mitchell doesn’t stop at just reporting the incident. They go on to give some tips:

  • How to help someone in distress

  • "People are being reminded that if they [are] concerned about someone they see on the railway or elsewhere, they should trust their instincts.

  • Suicidal thoughts can often be temporary.

  • Strike up a conversation with a simple question - such as asking about the weather, or where they're travelling to.

  • If you think someone may need help, introduce yourself, encourage them to talk and focus on listening.

  • There's no evidence that talking to someone who could be at risk can make things worse.

  • It's important to act. If you don't feel comfortable approaching the person yourself, speak to someone else or dial 999.” Or whatever the emergency line is for your area (e.g. 911 for the United States).

  • Knowing what to do in such a situation can be difficult, which is why we want to celebrate what Harvie did in August. And thank you to Mitchell for not reporting the victim’s name and granting them privacy. We wish all the best to those involved, especially the customer involved and hope for a lasting recovery!

Thanks for listening and we can’t wait for the new season! If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to us! We’ve got an email, or tweet at us @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. GO BINGE ON SOME JOY!

The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret"

Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Dallas, TX


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