(Avatar from Amazing Me)
Research into the benefits of kindness shows that taking a moment to be kind to others not only benefits them as receivers of kindness, but it can actually be more beneficial to the person giving the kindness. Ok, so what’s not to like? If that doesn’t convince you to spread a little kindness, how about this? Some of the benefits of kindness include: Lower level of stress and anxiety There are many of us who report of too much of this in our lives. The ‘positive affect’ that kindness produces leads to a boost in serotonin, and that helps regulate your anxiety, and helps you feel well, sleep well and digest well. Higher levels of self-esteem Perhaps you need a boost of that warm, fuzzy feeling right now. More confidence Positive feelings and emotions can broaden our awareness and creativity allowing us to build on our personal resources. Confidence in connecting could be one of those resources. Go on, ask your neighbour something about themselves when putting out the bins or join an online group and listen to what others tell you about their life. Less confusion Fuzzy mind? The ‘positive affect’ that is sparked by kindness could give you greater clarity. Peer acceptance As social animals, the building of social connection that comes with giving and receiving kindness can be so satisfying. What is it about compassion? Do you feel the need right now to reach out to someone you see suffering to help them feel better? In feeling compassion for others we are recognising that this is a shared humanity in which none of us is perfect. As humans we’re fallible, we make mistakes, make unhealthy choices, speak before we think, take the wrong turning somewhere along the road. Compassion creates space for failure and creates growth from failure. It helps us develop relationships with others and ourselves too. It's World Kindness Day - What can I do? Practise self-compassion If you are familiar with the feelings of compassion - wanting to help someone else in their suffering - how often do you check in with yourself to see if you have the resources to do this? Do you have enough in the tank to enable you to help others? Or are you that person who puts yourself last on the list. Try this. Nominate a time each week where you replenish your reserves with some self-compassion. Be sensitive to your own suffering, you are human after all, remember? What pain are you feeling? How much have you beaten yourself up this week? What language did you use in your self-talk? Turn your compassion inwards now. Use the same language that you would use for those around you when you’re supporting them. Don't separate yourself from the rest of humanity. You're one of us. Become both the giver and the receiver of kindness. Now that’s a win win, surely.