If You Want to Be Healthy, Be Kind
It doesn’t take much to be kind. In fact, it won’t cost you a single penny to help other people. But aside from the goodness it brings to others, being kind can actually keep you healthy and improve your overall well-being. It can change people’s lives, including yours.
Often, kindness is described as doing something that helps others without expecting anything in return. It is also being considerate of others and to yourself. Kindness is not just a behavior, but a quality of being. You must not only tick off kindness in your to-do list, but you also need to commit to practicing kindness all the time.
Benefits of Kindness
Kindness has multiple benefits for everyone. Whether you are receiving or doing an act of kindness, you may experience any of the following:
- Improves physical health – Showing kindness can decrease your blood pressure and the levels of the stress hormone called cortisol in your system. Less stress allows your body to function normally so this leads to better health conditions.
- Positively affects mental health – When you look for ways to be kind, you shift your focus onto this activity. This can make such a difference for someone who is anxious or stressed in social situations because they are thinking more about the needs of others rather than their own fears.
- Boosts mood – Helping people promotes positive changes in the brain that are associated with feelings of happiness. There is a certain warm feeling you get even from doing small acts of kindness like offering your seat to an elder in the subway.
- Promotes optimism – Doing acts of kindness can give you a new perspective in life. You begin to appreciate your life and show gratitude for the goodness you receive as well. Also, it helps in keeping a more optimistic attitude and improving your overall satisfaction.
- Reduces the feeling of isolation – Each time you show kindness, you also create the opportunity to make and maintain social connections. At times, it can even strengthen relationships with your friends and relatives. Activities like volunteering allow you to connect with new people in your community.
- Motivates other people to be kind – Kindness is contagious. When you show kindness to your loved ones or to strangers, it can make them feel good and want to share that positivity with others. This can inspire them to “pay it forward” and make their own positive impact on others. For example, if they have experienced difficulties with substance abuse but got better with the support of their loved ones, they may want to send their own encouraging words for someone in rehab
Various Acts of Kindness
Even one small act of kindness can have a positive impact on society. It creates a ripple effect that can radiate from your family to your local community. The more people you interact with and show kindness to, the more it can spread out.
The easiest way to practice kindness is with your personal connections, including friends and family members. At home, you can help with the household chores like washing the car or doing the dishes even when it’s not your responsibility to do so. Also, you can take a moment to show your appreciation to your parents, spouse, or children. Telling them how much you love and care for them can brighten their day. For relatives that live far away, a video call gives you the chance to catch up and let them know how much you miss them. If your friends are feeling down or experiencing some problems, a hug can help them feel that they can they are not alone.
You might want to extend your kindness to elderly neighbors by offering to do their grocery shopping or mowing their lawns. In your workplace, help new colleagues feel welcome by engaging them in conversation and getting to know them better. You can also lend a hand to an overloaded coworker or volunteer to pick up the office coffee order. These are simple ways to show kindness in your community and workplace. As you practice more acts of kindness with the people you know, you will also feel more comfortable doing the same for strangers as well.
Be Kind to Yourself
As you treat others with kindness, remember to show kindness to yourself, too. Allotting time for self-care allows you to focus on being kind to yourself. You can spend this time doing whatever makes you feel good and aids your mental health. You can watch your favorite movie or treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers. Use the time to pursue hobbies that interest you, or take a walk in the park and enjoy being surrounded by nature.
Kindness is free and very easy to practice, but it can be a powerful force. It can cheer up someone’s day and have an impact on your health and perspective. Practicing being kind to others can replace your stress with positive emotions and reduce the cortisol in your body. Additionally, it teaches you to have a good relationship with others and with yourself, which improves your overall well-being.