We all have so much going on in our lives and so often kindness is not at the forefront of our minds and can be pushed aside. If we take the time to be kind to other people as well as to ourselves there can be a greater impact than we realise. With such a tough year, now is the time to re-imagine a kinder society that better protects our mental health and wellbeing.
Acts of Kindness
We often hear the word wellbeing, but what does it actually mean? Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness and prosperity. Everything from our mental health, to a sense of purpose and our ability to feel generally well.
The simple act of a genuine smile or small word of gratitude to a family member, friend, or colleague can have a far greater impact than on someone's well being than we realise. Studies show that people who do more acts of kindness are actually happier themselves.
Benefits of Being Kind
Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, more than half of people say they are feeling greater anxiety than before. We want to be sure to be kinder to ourselves and those around us. Research shows that people who practise self care and are genuinely kinder to themselves, are better at acknowledging their own mistakes and learning from them to change for the better. A positive mental attitude can work wonders and helps us to be more conscious in all areas of our lives. What's more, when we practise kindness this actually has a big impact on our psychological and physical health. Being kind to others has been known to help boost our own immune system, slow down ageing, elevate our self esteem and even improve blood pressure!
Kindness upon Others
Kindness can be choosing to do something that helps others, driven by authentic motivation. By doing so, we can improve our mental health and wellbeing by feeling good about ourselves. A simple way to start is by asking people how they are and actually listening. Whether it be a friend, family member or colleague it could be just what that person needs. With the lockdown restrictions, a lot of us are by ourselves or in difficult home situations. Calling a friend who we haven't spoken to for a while can be a great way of actively being kind. Giving up your time where we would normally be watching tv to do so is such a great way to brighten someone's day. Finally, one we often can forget is to tell our family members how much we love and appreciate them.
Kindness upon Ourselves
Being kind to ourselves can be in many different forms. For example it could be the act of carving out some time for just ourselves in the day to do something that brings us joy. Another way can be to make sure we are giving ourselves some recognition. We are all so quick to acknowledge when other people have achievements but forget sometimes to stop and become aware of our own. Another way is to make sure we are keeping good care of ourselves in every aspect of life starting from the food we put into our bodies and the amount of sleep we get per night. Lastly, we often forget to soothe ourselves. We all have bad days, and soothing ourselves by something simple such as having a bath or making a hot chocolate with marshmallows can make the world of difference.
By practising these small acts of kindness daily, our brains start to have chemical and structural changes which help to establish ‘kindness circuits’. So when we are kind, it increases the amount of positive emotion in our day which can help us to deal with problems better and move through difficult times in our life. By incorporating consciously these acts, our bodies will produce oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone’ giving us a better outlook on life.