KIND

‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’

  Aesop

 We have all witnessed or heard stories of acts of kindness over the past few weeks. In this difficult time, friends and neighbours are coming out to help support the vulnerable, elderly and isolated members of their community. Kindness is a general term that means being friendly, helpful and generous towards others.

Theory

  • We are actually all hardwired to be kind – there’s growing evidence that compassion and kindness were essential to our survival as a species. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution noted that the communities that were most kind and sympathetic to one another flourished the best and raised the most children.
  • When people help unrelated others in acts of kindness, neurons in the reward and pleasure centres of the brain are firing away – it’s like nature’s way of saying, ‘this feels good, do it again!’
  • Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin, this has all sorts of benefits from healing, to calming and making us feel happy.
  • Endorphins are increased which are the brains natural pain killer
  • Oxytocin (the love hormone), is also released and promotes social bonding, calming, and encourages trust and generosity, as well as strengthening the immune system.
  • Kindness is the ultimate health kick, it not only relieves stress but can also slow down the ageing process!
  • Kindness is also contagious – we are more likely to be kind if we have witnessed others being kind, and even just witnessing acts of kindness still gives us all of the great health benefits!

Ideas

  • Studies have shown that we actually get more happiness from spending money on others rather than ourselves. Is there something a friend, partner or parent could really do with right now? In the current situation it would have to be online shopping – maybe there’s a product out there that could help someone? Or maybe they just need a hug or a word of encouragement at this difficult time.
  • Kindness doesn’t always have to be about other people. Have you thought about doing something for yourself lately? Perhaps some self care or practicing a mediation? A loving kindness meditation is a nice one to try, this helps us to connect with the feeling of kindness towards ourselves before extending this kindness out to others.
  • Is there a Random Act of Kindness you could do right now? You may be stuck at home with your family, and it’s not your usual situation, so what can you do to make someone’s day a little easier? Offer to make a drink or lunch? Give a compliment. Run your partner a relaxing bath. Or even make sure they have some alone time! (very important when we’re all being asked to stay at home together)
  • Children at home – maybe you could make some gifts/cards or do some baking (with the help of a parent) to treat the others in your household.
  • A family kindness jar is always a nice idea – fill your jar up with notes of kindness towards one another and take it in turns to read out, or to do the kind act.

‘Be kind whenever it is possible. It is always possible.’

Online resources

Random Acts of Kindness  – Loads of kindness ideas on this website, and even includes an online forum.

KindnessUK  – Up to date articles on kindness, and lots of resources for children including kindness poems.

52 Lives  – 52 Lives aims to change someone’s life every week of the year. It is based on the simple premise that people are good, and lots of good people working together can achieve amazing things.

Artsycraftsymom – This one’s for the kids – some kindness craft ideas to do while they’re off school.

Books

Loving kindness ‘The revolutionary art of happiness’ – Sharon Salsberg

Kindness ‘The little things that matter most’ – Jamie Thurston

Kindfulness ‘be a true friend to yourself with mindful self-compassion’ – Padraig O’Morain

Self-compassion ‘stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind’ – Kristen Neff

Guest blog by Ellie Fass-Roads.

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Ellie is the founder of Kindfulmind. She teaches mindfulness, using the principles of kindness and compassion, to children, families and adults in and around Bristol.