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Kindness

I woke up this morning feeling a bit “less than”.  You know what I mean- a little  down on myself.  I realized what I needed was to be kind to myself as well as others.  Then I found this article. Isn’t it wonderful when we get “coincidental” support on something we need?  Here are some of the highlights.

There are many ways to be kind to others: volunteering, contacting an elderly relative or friend to see how they are, paying someone a heartfelt compliment, being a true listener. 

Kindness can improve your physical and emotional health by:

  • Decreasing anxiety. After a month of a group of highly anxious people performing at least six acts of kindness a week there were wonderful results. They showed a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance. University of British Columbia Study
  • Regulating blood pressure. Performing acts of kindness lowers high blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, releasing a hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and protects the heart.

 

Not only does being kind to others increase good feelings, but witnessing kindness can also modify the autonomic nervous system so that simply watching a kind act encourages you to follow suit. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25813121/  

Mind-Body-Science abaldwin@mind-body-science.com    Ann Baldwin, PhD

As I mentioned at the start, being kind also includes being kind to yourself. Many caregivers put everyone and everything before themselves. They feel selfish and guilty otherwise. It takes a lot of awareness and practice to break the habit of a lifetime. Start with baby steps. First, it might take just being aware of times we are self critical- saying things to ourselves we would never say to a friend. Stop. Then say something nice like “I’m doing the best that I can. And that’s enough.” Once we are kind to ourselves it is much easier to be kind to others.