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The Endless Benefits of Being Kind!

Being kind is possibly the simplest way of feeling better and being a better version of yourself. Everyday holds an opportunity to be kind and do something nice for yourself, someone else, the environment or your community. So why on Earth don’t we do it more often?!

Science shows that as children, we’re biologically wired to be kind and we can further develop this trait with practice and repetition. Anyone who has ever watched ‘The Secret Life of Four Year Olds’ will know this to be true! Sometimes, however, due to outside influences and the stress of our day-to-day lives, we can lose this inherent ability but it’s never too late to work on getting it back!

A bit like when changing our unhealthy thoughts in CBT, by stepping out of our comfort zone and practicing acts of kindness, we're training our brains to get better at it naturally. Some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit - that’s just 3 weeks of conscious effort to make an everyday act of kindness the norm.

Science also shows there are heaps of physical benefits from behaving and thinking kindly. When we help others, and witness their reaction to being treated kindly, it causes our brain to release endorphins, the good chemicals that cause feelings of happiness. We get these from exercise too but letting a car out at a tricky junction during rush hour is way easier than running 5k!

Doing nice things for others also boosts our serotonin, the neurotransmitter that gives us the feeling of satisfaction and well-being. This is the same effect of most antidepressant medications working to calm you down and make you feel happier, except it’s free and has no negative side effects! Don’t get me wrong, I doubt that being kind alone will treat sever mental illness but every bit of serotonin counts when you’re on the road to recovery!

There are a lot of really interesting medical reports also showing that kindness decreases depression, blood pressure, pain, stress and anxiety. There are numerous rationals put forward for this but whether it’s the fact you are taking your mind of your own worries or perhaps feel more worthwhile by seeing the outcome of helping another person, being kind can only be a good thing for all involved. That’s because kindness is contagious. When someone smiles at me and wishes me a good day it’s my natural reaction to thank them and return the sentiment. It’s so simple yet so effective in creating a knock on effect throughout the day. You really never know what the person next to you is dealing with and a simple display of gratitude and kindness can be more powerful than you could imagine.

With the festive period about to commence it’s the most opportune time to show some kindness to yourself and others. Christmas can be a lonely and highly stressful period for so many reasons. Baring that in mind I think kindness can be shown in many ways. It doesn’t need to be expensive presents or grand gestures. It could be as simple as calling on your elderly neighbour with some mince pies or making your parents a cup of tea at the end of a long day. Also don’t forget to include yourself when showing kindness. Taking the time to have a night to yourself and relax isn’t selfish or anti social, it’s just self care and you deserve it as much as anyone else.

It’s so easy to be kind if we start our day making the conscious decision to do so. No matter how big or small, every act will help someone in some way.






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