HOW BEING KIND CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL WELL-BEING
As the Dalai Lama once said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The man was definitely onto something!
Being kind is an act that costs nothing, but can have a massive impact on those receiving, as well as those who are giving. We’ve all heard that positivity breeds more positivity, and spreading kindness can change the world, but how can it benefit our own mental well-being? Can it really reduce stress and help us live longer?
KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS
A random act of kindness, whether it be to a stranger or someone you know, can immediately have a positive effect on those people involved. But did you know that it can also positively impact those around you too? It can actually encourage others to spread kindness in their own lives! It’s so easy to get bogged down in life, with all of its demands and responsibilities, but when we see someone being kind to another it can have a ripple effect and improve the days of all those who witnessed it. The more you give, the more positive you will feel too, and this will provide you with the fuel and energy you need to create greater happiness.
WHAT ARE SOME ACTS OF KINDNESS I CAN GIVE TO OTHERS?
The rewards of being kind greatly outweigh the effort it takes to express kindness to another. So what are some small gestures you can immediately do to improve the feel good vibes of both yourself and others? Check out our suggestions below.
- Buy a stranger a coffee. Most of us love our morning caffeine fix, but how nice would it be to make someone’s day by simply shouting them their coffee? Next time you’re in that cafe queue, add some extra $ on top of your bill to surprise the next person.
- Send a message to a friend or loved one, letting them know how much they mean to you. We often don’t take the time to express how blessed we are to have someone in our lives - sharing those thoughts out of the blue will be sure to light up their day!
- Volunteer for a charity or organisation where you can give back to the community. The act of giving and making a difference in the lives of others is guaranteed to spread joy.
- Pay a compliment every day. Whether it be to a work colleague, a stranger or your partner at home, showing appreciation or admiration to another person spreads the love and leaves them feeling fab too.
- Smile! Smiling is contagious and if you get a grin back it’s sure to leave you feeling good.
DON'T FORGET TO BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Many of us are always putting others before ourselves and it’s often only when we get run down or sick that we are forced to take a time out, listen to our bodies and give ourselves some much needed TLC. But being kind to ourselves should always be a priority, and whilst we may have seemingly endless responsibilities, it’s super important that we take some time for ourselves - to reset, unwind and leave our cups feeling full. So how can we do that?
- Talk to ourselves as we would talk to our loved ones. We often fill our minds with thoughts of self doubt, self criticism and all round negative self talk - stuff we would never consider saying to a stranger, yet we think it’s ok to say to ourselves. Change the inner dialogue and appreciate YOU. Praise your achievements, be proud of who you are, and love the person you have become.
- Take some well deserved “you time” to do something that you enjoy. Whether it be curling up on the couch with a book, soaking in a bath, getting out in nature, or baking one of your favourite treats in the kitchen - spending time with yourself is vital for your happiness and mental health.
- Express gratitude. Creating a mindfulness practice like a gratitude list, allows you to slow down and acknowledge all that you have to be grateful for in your life. Often when the world feels heavy, we tend to focus on all the negative. But there’s always so much in our lives that we can be grateful for each day, no matter how dark it may seem at the time. The sunshine, fresh air, sound of your child laughing, your morning coffee, the bed in which you sleep in - simple things that we often take for granted. Writing a list at the end of every day, or first thing in the morning, allows you to refocus, and draw more positivity into your day.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPREADING KINDNESS?
There are enormous benefits to be had by sharing kindness with others and sprinkling it on yourself too. Kindness produces serotonin in the brain, which helps to provide calmness and feelings of happiness. It has the same effect as taking a medical antidepressant, yet is a natural stimulant that helps calm you down, can heal wounds and leave you feeling happy! Oxytocin is another hormone that is produced by witnessing acts of kindness, and this helps to improve our blood pressure and general heart health. Oxytocin also boosts our self esteem and optimism, which helps when we are feeling anxious or fearful, as well as easing feelings of depression or low self worth. Our energy is improved when we are spreading the kind vibes too, which means we have more vitality to power through our days, we feel stronger, and it can increase our lifespan and overall health.
So what are you waiting for? Spread those feel good Happy Way vibes today!