One of my clients who subscribed told me about one that I missed about killing it with kindness. Basically, no matter what, be kind to your partner (even in conflict) and you can’t go wrong.
It got me thinking about kindness generally.
We all know what it means to be kind and show kindness but I had never looked at the definition before.Here it is: “The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate”.
You may remember the Random Acts of Kindness movement some years ago. People were doing things like ‘paying it forward’ – paying for a coffee for the next person who ordered whether they knew them or not; like delivering flowers to a neighbour for no apparent reason; like giving compliments freely. We were generally encouraged to commit any act of kindness just for the sake of it.
I remember listening to a story on the radio about a woman (single mum, struggling financially) who left her EFTPOS card in the car. By the time she came back to pay for her groceries someone had paid for her. She was in a flood of delighted tears on the radio.
That’s what kindness is all about – the joy it brings others.
But…according to the Random Acts of Kindness team (who committed an act of kindness by saving me the trouble of scouring the research) being kind is also joyful for you (not to mention healthy).
Here’s what they found:
- Witnessing an act of kindness increases the release of oxytocin (the cuddle drug) that makes us have feelings of love and connection. Oxytocin also increases self-esteem and optimism. So if your self-esteem needs a boost do something kind.
- Kindness is also nature’s antidepressant – it stimulates the release of serotonin, another feel good hormone that, if low, has been associated with low mood and obsessing. So boost your mood by being kind.
- Being kind to another person makes the pleasure centres of your brain light up as though you were the one on the receiving end of that kindness. So feel more pleasure by being kind.
- Being kind also makes you happier, less anxious, less stressed, have lower blood pressure and more energy. So be more happy and healthy by being kind.
I’m sure if I kept looking at journal articles I would find some more benefits but I’d have to think that wasn’t necessary. It looks like kindness could be one of those ‘great for everything’ things like ‘self-compassion’ (which is kind of like kindness to yourself). There is nothing self-compassion doesn’t help with.
So try to do a couple of acts of kindness this week. And make one of them a kindness to yourself.