IT can be that little surprise, or random act of kindness, that can make the difference to your day.
A kindness campaign, which took off during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, continues to make a massive difference to the mental health and wellbeing of the Port Macquarie-Hastings community.
Port Macquarie Community Preschool teacher Alyssa Chapman decided to paint over 100 rocks and hide them around the local area for residents and her students to find.
Mrs Chapman discovered the idea through a Facebook page called NSW Rocks and decided to establish it locally during the lockdown period.
The rocks are painted in bright colours and acknowledge the importance of the Aboriginal people, as each are labelled with Birpai land.
Mrs Chapman said it's important for everyone to remain connected during what can be an incredibly isolating time and the creativeness of the project allows people to do that.
She has been surprised at the improvement of her own wellbeing as a result of the treasure hunt.
"It actually made me feel more motivated and connected during that lockdown phase," she said.
Photos showing the excited faces of children who have been lucky enough to find the rocks have been posted to the preschool.
Port Macquarie-Hastings clinical psychologist Kevin O'Sullivan believes acts of kindness, especially those which are random and altruistic, are key to human connection and important for social wellbeing.
Mr O'Sullivan has also experienced the benefits of kindness after he stopped at a petrol station on the way to Sydney, and discovered he didn't have his wallet to make the purchase.
The man behind him in the line paid for Mr O'Sullivan's petrol and asked him to pay forward the act.
Mr O'Sullivan said there is research to suggest the act of giving and receiving increases oxytocin, a hormone in the body that makes humans feel good.
For more information or to get involved in the rock hunt, people can visit the NSW Rocks Facebook page.
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