One of my intentions this year is to be kinder to myself and others. There are multiple benefits of kindness to any human being and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on this.
Kindness Unburdens You
Your days are stressful enough – from dealing with work problems to deciding on what to wear in the morning. To do something for someone else and to consider their feelings forces you to take a break from your own problems.
Kindness Teaches you Empathy
There are 3 different types of empathy – Cognitive, Emotional and Compassionate*. Emotional empathy is feeling what others feel. It doesn’t always lead to positive things, but it allows you to feel the relief that you bring to someone else when you reach out and help them.
Kindness Increases Your Self-Worth
Helping people makes you feel good. Seeing joy on another’s face makes us feel good about ourselves. But it can also begin to make you believe in yourself. You are capable of doing good and you are more than your negative thoughts.
Kindness Makes You Happy
Being kind or witnessing kindness releases a chemical called ‘serotonin’**. It’s the same thing in antidepressants, except it’ll be naturally occurring within. This chemical regulates your mood in the brain and makes you feel happiness.
Learning to not be so quick to judge and to be kinder to others is easier said than done. But I have (and am) really trying this year and I wanted to share my small list of “Random acts of kindness” that I have done so far. I hope my list grows much much larger.
- If you’re out buying snacks for yourself, buy something for a friend as well.
- Make the effort to hold the elevator door for someone you don’t know.
- Don’t be so quick to judge when someone gives you an opposing opinion. It’s okay that we all think differently.
- You don’t always need a reason to text someone. Message your friends or family and just tell them you miss them.
- Pay for a coworkers or friends lunch every now and then. No strings attached.
- Take time to appropriately compliment a stranger. You never know what other people are going through. It could make their day just a little brighter.
- Even though you’re in a rush, help that tourist who has just asked you for directions.
- Instead of veering away from the homeless, buy something for them, give it to them and ask how they are.
- Show your appreciation. If you enjoyed that post you saw on Instagram, make a comment on it. If someone helped you to reach your deadline at work, actually voice your gratefulness…maybe even shout them a coffee/tea.
Making the extra effort to physically act upon my empathy has been one of the best moves yet.