KINDNESS COUNTS ON SO MANY LEVELS
There are so many times that I just want to go to the rooftops and scream out, "Can't we all just be kind to one another?" Apparently, it is not that easy for some people probably because of the misbelief that being kind means never getting angry. This is so wrong. It does not make anyone a pushover, simply the fact that it is treating others with the same respect and dignity that we deserve to be treated. Yes, even when we disagree. Everyone is allowed their own beliefs. Kindness actually takes some serious courage. In order to get along, we have to learn to let it go.
Kindness is good for our brains and body. Having empathy for others by taking a moment to realize where another person is coming from instead of jumping to judgments helps us all to be a kinder human being. Kindness is actually not a personality trait. It is a skill that needs continual practice. I have to ask myself if I reacted to others' views too quickly or if I raised my voice? Usually, this is a no for me. It is a little harder when I need to try to wrap my head around another person's point of view when it is so different from my own. By taking a moment to think about it instead of rushing in with my point of view usually works for me. And yes, sometimes it may mean, TIME OUT! Sometimes it is best to not get into a debate about a subject. Make being kind a habit. It is a way of building your kindness superpower. This blog was based on some research done by Dr. Jamil Zaki, an associate professor at Stanford University.
There is a link between kindness and empathy. They are two separate entities, just closely related. Kindness is doing something to help someone else without expecting anything in return whereas empathy is feeling what someone else is feeling. They don't always go together. Dr. Zaki's research revealed that people tend to feel happier and less stressed after doing something kind for someone.
Is there such a thing as being too kind? It is if you show kindness without some self-care. We must be kind to ourselves too. Two examples:
- Yesterday I did something really, really dumb. I was not thinking and had too much on my mind. When I discovered my mistake I started calling myself out on what a stupid thing to do. Never would I have treated a friend this way so why did I do it to myself. Instead, I had to go and sit myself down, take deep breaths, go through my thoughts of how it happened and what I can do to correct the problem. It is a matter of being kind to myself.
- Another example are our front line workers. They must take time for themselves, just like we do. Take breaks, even if it is a moment's walk outside or go outside for a picnic lunch on a bench or a jog around the building.
Each daily choice we make, no matter how big or how small will either nurture our well being or aggravate stress. We all face huge challenges and kinder communities - ones that allow for all to have equal opportunities work best for all. We do have far to go on this note. We must continue to do better. During the pandemic we were able to witness that disadvantaged communities have faced much higher forces in fighting the pandemic. Our bodies are made for working better when our lives are filled with more empathy and kindness. Dr. Kelli Harding stated that "kindness helps us with whatever illness or other adversity shows up."
When we are kind to others, it not only benefits that person but we all benefit from it as well. Studies have shown that being kind can and does actually lower blood pressure and anxiety. It can lesson depression. Feel good hormones get released.
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