Let’s Make Kindness Great Again

Any endeavour, and I honestly believe any attempt to improve your health-wealth, to improve your wellbeing, your productivity, your self-awareness & outlook, vitality, virility and the connections you not only have with others, but most importantly the relationship you have with yourself, requires ONE action, one virtue, one habit that needs to be mastered above anything else.

And that is…

Drumroll…

Exciting huh!?

Ooh, what is it…no, it’s not patience…

It’s not a startling sense of humour or a bald head…close though…

IT’S KINDNESS.
The dictionary term for kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
Wikipedia describes kindness as “Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognised as a value in many cultures and religions.”

Now, before i go any further, I need to acknowledge my Dad (‘hello Father’….add obligatory Star Wars Darth Varder quote“Luke, I am your father”).
As he is the inspiration for the this weeks Blurb subject matter. He sent me this article which has prompted me to share not only his message, but why it’s something that I believe we all need to not only actively start working on, but make a HABIT.
Habits = what we repeatedly do, we become.

Why?
Well ‘science’ and ‘actual’ research definitely proves the benefits of being kind.
Simply put, when Kindness is Increased this is the result…

THE LOVE HORMONE
Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation. Natalie Angier, The New York Times
ENERGY
“About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center
HAPPINESS
2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall. (see also.

LIFESPAN
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”

PLEASURE
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

SEROTONIN
Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy! Talya Steinberg, Psy.D for Psychology Today

WHEN KINDNESS DECREASES (I took the liberty of not adding full descriptions below) to keep the post as succinct as possible)

There’s an increase in pain, stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure…bad juju

“It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”
Dr. Ritchie Davidson, University of Wisconsin

The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!
Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University for Scientific American, July 26, 2016

So, what about me?

So all terrific stuff, however there’s one more thing I’d like to add. And that is the practice, the daily practice of not only being kind to others, but kind to yourself.
Who? YOU!
Revert the narrative and actions inwards.
Being kind to yourself, and using an internal narrative dictated by kindness could possibly be the best ‘hack’ we could develop in our own betterment toolkit.
Think about it…
If you practiced a daily ritual of reminding yourself to remember (because we always forget, our days are busy and our attention is always being stolen) to be kind to yourself, how much more would you be able to take better care of yourself.
We have the tendency to drop the self-kindness ball when our lives get tangled up and busy in the cogs of day to day…our sleep becomes compromised, our food choices and consumption of alcohol can become self-compromising, our stress levels rise and our capacity for tolerance starts to slide. We move less and become dis-enfranchised with our fitness…and, it’s during these hectic times that we need to actually INCREASE and focus more our capacity for self-kindness.
We need to prioritise rest and recovery.
We need to ensure our nutrition is optimal.
We need to be conscious of the amount of alcohol we consume…even eliminate it all together during stressful times. It. Does. Not. Help
We need to reset our default settings from self-harm to self-care when the shit hits the fan…and sadly, this is a modern day problem.
We fail ourselves first, then our ability to be kind, considerate, patient, courteous etc to not only our immediate peers and love ones, but also to all the random interactions we have everyday…interactions and stimulus out of our control, but interactions that we need to respond to the best way possible…for our own wellness capacity to remain calm, happy and unfazed by modern life.
If we’re tired, affected by alcohol, poor food choices and lacking the pride and self-esteem that is born from feeling good via the pathways of exercise, movement and sunlight, then how are we expected to respond the best way possible to the obstacles of life.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Viktor Frankl

 

KINDNESS MUST BECOME HABIT & PRACTICED DAILY
As they say, ‘repetition is the mother of mastery’ so anything that we want to improve at needs to become a habit. And the only way something becomes a habit is through persistent & deliberate practice.
How did Roger Federer become the best tennis player?
How did Edison invent the light-bulb?
How did Tiger Woods become the greatest “player”
By shutting out all the external noise and focusing on what was required to master their objective.
Our lives are extremely busy, and our attention is always under-attack from mostly meaningless ‘stuff’, so it is imperative that we place a kindness-objective’ into our daily rituals that remind us to remember to be kind…otherwise, we simply forget.
KINDNESS IS NUMBER 1 WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HEALTH

KINDNESS IS A MEDITATION IN PUREST FORM

KINDNESS IS THE BEST FORM OF SELF-AWARENESS

KINDNESS IS OUR BEST TEACHER

KINDNESS IS SELF-LOVE

KINDNESS HELPS WALLOPS THE FALSE EGO

KINDNESS DEFEATS MAKING ASSUMPTIONS

KINDNESS BREEDS PATIENCE