Being kind really is good for your health!

Wednesday 17th February is Random Acts of Kindness Day and this got me thinking…

In the media and in society today we can be programmed into seeing the more negative aspects of life and humanity, but if we choose to look a bit more closely, we see that there is kindness and compassion everywhere.

We all know how good it feels when someone is kind to us and it also feels great when we’re kind to others and the good news is that being kind really is good for your physical and mental health! Studies show that people who are kind produce far less cortisol (the stress hormone), increased levels of dopamine (the natural high!) and age slower than the average population….and if that’s not enough of a benefit here are some more:

Improved self-esteem

In being kind to others we are more able to see the good in ourselves. It feels good to make a difference and the feeling of giving can reinforce positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

Also, it’s important to note that when thinking about kindness, being kind to ourselves should not be forgotten. How about giving yourself a random act of kindness today? Perhaps try doing something for yourself that you wouldn’t normally do…

Feeling more connected

I hear lots of people reporting a sense of loneliness and disconnection. People show concern about not feeling part of a community and as humans we have an innate need for this sense of connection and community and we’re really feeling lack in this area.

Showing kindness and compassion to others can really help to develop a feeling of deep connection with others and is the foundation on which communities are built.

Improve close relationships

It can be easy to forget to be kind to those who are closest to us at times. We can slip into ways of being with our loved ones where we take them for granted, forgetting that old saying of “actions speak louder than words.”

Showing kindness to a loved one can really strengthen that bond and makes both the giver and receiver remember how grateful they are for that relationship.

Kindness really is contagious

Being kind really does seem to have a ripple effect. The feeling that we get from receiving an act of kindness elevates us and makes us want to pass it on. There has been lots of research into this ripple effect with Jonathan Haidt’s study showing that corporate leaders who engage in self-sacrificing behaviour and elicit “elevation” in their employees, also yield greater influence among their employees.

In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”.

As I talk about the benefits of kindness, it feels important to note that there should be no ulterior or selfish motive for kindness, but with so many benefits to the giver and receiver why wouldn’t you choose to be kind?

So what will you do today on ‘random act of kindness day’? Not that it’s limited to today of course…perhaps you could make it a daily practice and see how good it feels!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this….

Posted in Blog.

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