Do you feel you are a kind person? Most people would likely answer yes to this question. But, looking back, there are probably times these same people might admit to having occurrences they should have handled differently. So, what’s the big deal with kindness? Why does it matter? Sadly, these days, many people have a “what’s in it for me” attitude. “No one is kind to me”, they will say. “Why should I be kind to them?” Well, maybe that’s exactly the point. Keep reading, I think you’ll be happy to find there really is “something” in it for you, me, all of us.
The Secrets of Kindness
Studies have shown that kindness is not only a good moral value, but it is good for you. It benefits your brain, your body and your emotions in many ways. And, may just be the secret to a successful and fulfilling life. Always be kind because your actions have a bigger impact than you realize not only on you but others as well.
As children and even as adults, we look for kindness from our family and friends. We give and receive kindness every day in some form.
Kindness moves us. We remember past kindnesses done to and by us. Kindness nourishes, heals, strengthens and uplifts us.
6 Reasons Why We Should Be Kind
1. Kindness makes us happier. When we perform random acts of kindness, we activate areas of pleasure, social connection and trust in our brains.
2. It creates a positive loop in our mind. Kindness makes you happier and happiness makes you kinder. When you are happy, you are more likely to feel giving and kind towards others.
3. Kindness can create social connections and bonding. As humans, we’re preprogrammed to be a part of a group. Being a part of a group, a social connection of some type, enhances our physical performance and boosts mental clarity. Being kind allows us to be a part of a group.
4. Kindness helps with the healing process. When healthcare is delivered with kindness it can hasten the healing process, thereby shortening hospital stays. Kinder care leads to a range of outcomes including reduced pain, lowered blood pressure and less anxiety for the patient and caregivers.
5. Kindness can decrease or help prevent diseases. Kindness lowers our stress and anxiety levels and decreases pain because of the endorphins and feel-good hormones released at the time of the act.
Positive emotions from kindness boosts your vagus nerve which regulates blood sugar. This helps the body prevent diabetes, strokes and heart disease.
6. Altruism has been shown to stimulate the reward area of our brain. Studies suggest that we get high on being kind.
No matter how inconsequential an act of kindness might be, it is good for you. Without kindness life would be lonely, filled with anger and desolation, disease and stress. But when kindness is both given and received with no expectations in return, our lives are calmer, happier and we build meaningful connections with others.
Do you remember how you felt when you had a bad day and someone smiled at you? Or the time you helped your neighbor carry in her groceries and how she still thanks you for it? Each of these small acts of kindness can make a huge impact on someone’s life.
Small actions often lead to giant ripples. One small action can completely change the life of someone who then performs a kindness for someone else. And the cycle continues and grows.
No matter how big or small the kindness is, it’s likely to have big significances to your own mental health. According to psychologists and researchers, the smallest acts of kindness can create a rebound effect on not only the receiver’s psyche but your own as well.
For example, a smile increases their level of comfort along with making them happier. It puts you in a better mood as well. That simple smile could be the reason someone is lifted out of despair.
Tiny acts of kindness can make a change in two ways; they are the catalyst for others to start invoking their own small kindnesses and they have a contagious effect on others. In other words, when we carry out tiny acts of kindness, other people see them, inspiring more kindness.
Let’s look at another example. If you are friendly to the bus driver, he then in turn will be more likely to be more considerate to the next passenger. That passenger is more likely to go home and have a positive conversation with their family.
People who have a tendency to do small things to spread kindness are more likely to take action in bigger ways as well.
Being kind isn’t difficult. Once you set your mindset to ‘Kind,’ you’ll notice all sorts of opportunities throughout your day to reach out and be kind to someone.
As a bonus, once you’re in the kindness loop, you’ll notice you feel happier and more fulfilled. Scientists call this ‘the helper’s high’ as altruistic acts trigger the same endorphins as a ‘runner’s high’!
Making Other People Happy
When you are happy, you will experience positive feelings which feels good. But when you make others happy, these positive feelings are elevated even further.
There is no doubt that people love to make others happy. In fact, if you are ever feeling down yourself, one way to bring yourself up is to find ways to make others happy. This will give you the boost you need.
When you strive to make others happy, they notice. They will get a boost in their mood causing a reaction you’re likely to see in their face immediately. It may even be returned to you in kind, either immediately, or sometime in the future.
The great part about making others happy is that it’s relatively easy to do. It can be as simple as paying someone a compliment. Or it can be helping out a colleague whose workload is overextended. Sometimes, simply thanking someone can lift their spirits, no matter how small that task is.
One really easy way to make people happy is to smile. Smiling is a warm and friendly act that most people will respond to positively by smiling back. A smile is a form of welcoming and shows that you are opening yourself up to those people. It gives people an invitation to approach you.
Another way to make someone happy is to simply listen to them. You would be amazed at how effective this is. People aren’t usually good listeners so if you stand out as someone who is, this too will get noticed by people and it will make them happy.
If you want to go a step further in making others happy, try to learn more about the people that you want to make happy. Be interested in what they do. Then, if you see something related to their interests, either bring it to their attention or give them something related that shows you were paying attention.
4 Tips for Training Your Brain to Act with Kindness
Being kinder is not about making sacrifices or denying your own needs. Treating people kindly is not an imposition or another task on your checklist.
It’s the outward manifestation of living positively. Kindness is all about mindset, and you can train your brain to make kindness almost automatic. Ever notice that being kind to someone makes you feel good too? It’s because altruism promotes a chemical reaction in your brain, releasing serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. These chemicals not only make you feel good but also work to reinforce positive social behavior. By laying down new neural pathways, you set yourself up for living a positive, kinder life.
Here are some scientifically proven tips for engineering kindness into your brain.
1. Choose to be kind
In choosing to be kind, you are consciously resetting your mindset to treat people with compassion and empathy. Notice the effect of your kindness on others. When you smile, people’s natural reaction is to smile back. You set up a kindness loop that keeps on paying itself forward!
Choosing to be kind, regardless of your mood, can even turn a cranky day into a happier one. Your brain receives the message that all is well, and before you know it you’ll be feeling more cheerful.
2. Do more random acts of kindness
Studies have shown that carrying out five random acts of kindness every week is the single most effective way of increasing your happiness. Anything from paying forward a cup of coffee, to letting another driver into the traffic, or mowing your neighbor’s lawn will make you and the other person feel good.
3. Be kind to yourself.
Self-kindness starts with noticing your talk. Are you encouraging or judging? Do you start from a position of ‘yes you can’ or ‘you’ll never do it’? Pay attention to that voice in your head, and change your script to kindness.
acts of self-care into your day. Reward successes, big and small. Take time to do the things that make you feel good. Make
sure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated and have a nutritious diet.
4. Practice gratitude
Make it a daily practice to count your blessings. Research has shown that people are happier when they notice the good things in their lives and practice gratitude. The outcome is so marked that it changes your brain structure! Brain scans have shown the effect of mindfulness and gratitude. The parts of the brain associated with stress shrink, while the regions associated with self-awareness and compassion grow.
6 Painless Ways to Be Kind to Others
doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t have to be sacrificial or a martyr to
be nice to other people. Remember when you learned about the Golden Rule – do
unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s that easy.
doesn’t have to cost you anything more than a smile or remembering your
manners. And it’s easy to develop a kindness habit, once you get into the
groove of being kind to people it just gets easier!
Here are some
suggestions to help you get started.
Smiling is easy, cheap and sustainable. It’s also contagious – smile at someone and their immediate reaction is to smile back. The act of smiling is relaxing and floods your brain with endorphins. As a bonus, smiling lowers your blood pressure and your stress levels.
By making eye
contact and giving a genuine smile, you
are showing respect and making connections.
2. Reach out
Don’t wait for people to connect with you. Send a message, a card or flowers to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Chances are you’ll brighten their day. If you know someone has been having a rough time, check in with an ‘are you ok’ message.
If you have
elderly neighbors, check in with them to
see if they need anything.
3. Offer some hugs
Offer your partner, kids or friends a random hug for no reason. So many people are starved of physical affection. And often as children grow up, they get hugged by their parents less and less. A warm hug lifts them and will make everyone feel good.
4. Show up
If you’re routinely too busy for social occasions, or your kids’ school function or sport, step back for a minute and set some kinder priorities in your life. Give the gift of your time and your support.
5. Be a kindness role model
Think back to the people who have shown you kindness, maybe a teacher or a boss or mentor. How did they affect your life? By including kindness in your life, you can be an excellent role model for your colleagues, friends, and family. Show them that being kind is a priority for you.
6. Give some random
Notice when someone does a good job or is looking great. You have the power to lift their day by noticing and acknowledging their efforts.
Can one person change the world?
Yes, I believe you can.
I think you'll find our Kindness Journals are a great tool to visually track your journey. Follow the rewards with your kids as well as yourself. It's a journey I believe you'll be glad to have taken.