Kindness is good for us: do some today!
By Sally Evans

 

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Let me be clear here. Being kind is not optional! It is so important to share with you all that being kind and doing acts of kindness is really good for both our mental and physical health. So, whilst many may think that it is a personal quality that only some people have - being friendly, generous, and considerate, it is also an ability that can be learned and practised.

Some people may think that being kind is naïve (‘you’ll just get taken advantage of’) or weak (‘they haven’t done anything for you, why would you help then?’), but did you know that people who think like this are more likely to suffer from anxiety, worry and depression? It has been proven.

Gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are sometimes associated with kindness, and you may not think you are that kind of person? But being kind also often requires courage, strength, honesty, and humility. What we know from research is that we can get amazing health benefits from doing acts of kindness and I’m here to share them with you today.

1: Kindness releases feel-good hormones

You may notice that when you undertake an act of kindness, no matter how simple, you will feel better within yourself. There is a good reason for this. Our hormone serotonin gets a real boost, and serotonin is responsible for our life satisfaction, the ability to be calm and general feelings of wellbeing (i.e happiness). So, whenever you want to feel good about yourself, do something kind. You could put out your neighbour’s bins, offer to fetch shopping or maybe volunteer and help someone in need.

2: Kindness is good for our heart and mind

Have you heard the phrase ‘a warm heart’? If you show an act of kindness to someone, you can release another important hormone for our wellbeing called oxytocin. Oxytocin helps expand the blood vessels and in turn reduces issues like blood pressure and strained heart vessels. Releasing oxytocin also gives us a sense of belonging, reduces anxiety, and relieves stress. Good for our mental and our physical health!

3:  Doing kindness improves relationships

Kindness is so powerful that it has been proven to not only help improve our own feelings of calm and overwhelm, it helps the person you helped because they feel valued and cared for, and anyone who observed the kindness being done. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!

4: Random acts of kindness

Doing an act of kindness does not have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes just letting someone out in front of you in a car queue, is enough to raise your own serotonin levels and that of the person you let in. It really is that easy to be kind and you both benefit!

Other easy random acts, include paying for the coffee of the person behind you in a queue; giving a compliment to someone about something they did or said; telling someone how much you appreciate them; sharing homemade food; visiting or calling someone you know is lonely. They don’t have to be big; they just have to make a difference to someone’s day, and then they will to yours.

There are different ways to practice kindness. We must open our eyes and actively notice if people are in need. Do you notice when people could use a helping hand?

5: Kindness starts with you

And finally, kindness includes being kind to ourselves. Do you treat yourself kindly? Do you speak gently and kindly to yourself and take good care of yourself?

Why not start with some acts of kindness today.

Be Kind, No Matter What!
 

 

Sally is the Founder of LifeBuddy.

She is an Organisational Development consultant and is a Practitioner with the Association for Business Psychology.