The Power of Kindness
It is no secret that the global pandemic affected the majority of people’s mental health. During this time of isolation and forced physical distance, intentionally practicing kindness will benefit you and those around you.
Health Benefits of Kindness
- Increases Happiness: Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin, which makes you feel relaxed and happy.
- Reduces Stress: It lowers your level of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can be harmful in large or prolonged doses. Kind people have 23% less cortisol.
- Reduces Pain: Kindness releases endorphins in the brain that act as a natural painkiller.
- Decreases Anxiety & Depression: It increases positive moods and reduces social anxiety, improves life satisfaction, and delays mortality. It stimulates the production of serotonin which heals wounds.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: Kindness releases oxytocin, which promotes love and attachment and reduces blood pressure.
Ways to Practice Kindness
- Smiles are irresistible. Don’t hesitate to smile warmly at friends, family, colleagues, and even…strangers.
- Write hand-written thank-you notes. The notes don’t need to be an essay and people love to receive them. It’s the personal touch.
- If you use public transport, it’s busy and there are no free seats, be the first to stand up and let a weary traveler, pregnant woman or elderly person take rest.
- Pay it forward – When you are in a coffee shop or café, maybe you could buy a coffee or cake in advance for the next customer that comes in. How tasty! Imagine what a sweet surprise that person will get when they discover that a kind stranger has paid it forward for them.
- When you see a homeless person, think about how you might be able to help them in some way. Buy a nutritious lunch. Ask them if there is anything that they need. Give them a warm coat. Share a conversation. Spend some time. Listen. Engage.
- That thing you’re going to sell. Why not give it away for free?
- Send flowers unexpectedly. No reason needed. Just because.
- Hold doors open. Even for people who are a little further away from the door than usual.
- Make your colleagues/classmates a hot-drink. Expect nothing in return. Well…maybe some doughnuts.
- Speaking of doughnuts…why not buy a bag full and share them out in all directions.
- Pay compliments.
- Does someone owe you money? Forgive the debt.
- When a person is talking to you _really_ listen to them.
- Pass books on, especially the good ones or leave them in public places for others to find.
- Ask elderly neighbors if they need anything doing.
- Tell your loved ones that you love them. Regularly.
- When you are served in a shop, bar, restaurant, etc, make eye contact and sincerely thank the employee for their help.
- Put coins in a meter, any meter, that’s about to expire.
- If you know that someone is particularly busy, offer to take their dog for a walk.
- When a thought of generosity arises within you, act on it. Don’t hold back. This is important.
- If someone is struggling with money problems, find a way to secretly help them if you can. If not secretly, out in front.
- Take a friend to dinner.
- Stand up for others.
- Stop complaining.
- Standing in a queue? Let someone go before you.
- Tell someone that they look nice.
- Volunteer some time to help a charity or perhaps a homeless shelter.
- Stop speaking ill of others. Let your words be kind.
- Forgive a driver for their error on the road or their road rage directed at you.
- Think of the people in your life…what help do they need with chores or tasks? Don’t wait to be asked.
- Be the calm voice in a stressful situation.
- Donate to your favorite charity.
- Spend some time with a senior citizen living on their own.
- Teach a child something you wish you knew at that age.
- If a friend or family member is having a hard time, make sure they know that you are there for them and are available to talk and help.
- Give Blood.
- Donate to or volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Encourage someone to pursue their dream.
- “Please” and “Thank You.”