Covid 19 has shown us all how important kindness is and how kindness has immense power. Not only can it help others feel loved and supported, it helps us feel better.
Being kind makes us all feel good
When we are kind to others, it activates the areas of our brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. It can make us feel closer to people and it creates community. When we have communities of people helping each other out, it helps reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness, which is all good for our mental health.
Kindness creates connections for us all
It’s this sense of connection that many of us are craving right now, when we have been isolated from our friends and family. While we may not be able to reach through our phones and hug our friends and family, showing them kindness in other ways can help to keep that connection strong.
As well as increasing this sense of community, being kind to others can actually boosts our mood and lowers our blood pressure.
Being Kind is good for your brain
Research has shown that when we’re kind to others, our brain’s pleasure and reward centres are activated, which in turn boosts your serotonin and dopamine levels, the neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for feelings of satisfaction, reward and wellbeing.
Kindness also releases nitric oxide in blood vessels, resulting in dilation and the lowering of blood pressure, so being kind can even help to keep our hearts healthy. There really aren't any downsides to being kind.
Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness don't have to be grand gestures, the phrase, it's the thought that counts, has never been more apt.
Try these acts of kindness and wait for the good feelings to flow.
Practice active listening when talking to someone, Email a colleague and let them know that you think their work is great, Send a pretty card to let someone know you’re thinking of them, pay a friend a compliment, compliments can lift people's moods and make them feel appreciated and why not get in touch with an elderly relative to check on them, or just to say hi.
How to be kinder to yourself
When you talk about being kind to others, we have to talk about being kind to ourselves. This is the area that we can all struggle with, but it’s so important. Here are some tips to help you be kind to yourselves:
Accept who you are
Nobody's perfect. Having flaws is what makes us human and accepting these flaws is what makes us kind. Every time your inner critic shows up to bring you down, get into the habit of arguing with them. It's OK to make mistakes, it makes us human.
Focus on the positives in life
We can all be guilty of having negative thoughts, but we can change this. Starting by keeping a record of positive achievements each day and then reflect on this each day. You will surprise yourself every day.
Look after yourself with Self-Care
Self Care is so important and it's something we can all be guilty of neglecting. Self care can be as simple as making sure you eat the right foods, take enough exercise or just have the right amount of down time to recharge our batteries. We are not machines, we all need to stop once in a while and take a look a round and breathe.
If you look after yourself and more importantly, you're kind to yourself, you will find it easier to be kind to others and reap the benefits of the extra kindness in your life.