Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ Dalai Lama
Kindness is one of those attitudes that has a positive effect, not only on those around you, but also on you too! Acts of kindness, gratitude and cooperation activate the ‘feel good’ part of the brain, called the striatum. It’s the reward center, so it will react happily to an excellent meal or a hug from a loved one, leaving you with that that warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when you feel good about something.
Kindness should be viewed as an indispensable part of the healing process. After all, it’s been in the Hippocratic Oath (that doctors take) for over a century: “I will remember that... warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.” (Source)
In fact, kindness has been shown to lead to:
- Less pain and faster healing
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
So how can you experience that ‘feel good’ feeling and share it with others?
Participate in National Do Something Nice Day
Yes, there’s a day for this! Today is ‘Do Something Nice Day’, so take the opportunity and go out and do something nice for someone else. You can do anything from pre-paying the bill for the car behind you in the line at the drive-thru to buying a gift card for a fabulous, relaxing massage for someone going through a stressful time. Even giving a friend a call you haven’t spoken to in a while counts!
Of course, you’re not restricted to being nice just one day of the year, so here are some other reasons and ways you can drop a coin in the ‘nice’ pond and spread the ripples all around!
Pay it forward!
Paying it forward is a way to ensure that kindness spreads! If someone has done something nice for you or said something that makes you feel like a million dollars, pay it forward and do the same for someone else! It’s an easy way to share the wealth that is kindness!
Smiles are catching!
You know how you will wince if you see someone getting a needle, or you might frown if you see someone being publicly humiliated? The same ‘mirror’ reaction is true of smiling. In fact, a big, wide, happy smile is infectious! You’ll feel positive and so will anyone who comes across you! That’s how you create the ripple effect of kindness!
Get your giggle on
Laughter is similar to smiling, in that it’s catching! You might find yourself laughing along with a friend, even if you don’t know what they’re laughing about! And laughter is a known stress reliever, so why not have a giggle with some friends?
Cheer someone up!
The act of helping someone else turn a frown upside down will have positive effects for both of you! Not only do you feel good because you’ve helped someone else but you’re likely to react to their positive response, which will double the good mood effect! Empathy is a powerful emotion, so exercise it a little!
Think twice before you snap at someone
Kindness isn’t always about an overt act. Sometimes it’s about not doing something. No matter how hard your day has been or how stressed you are, keeping the idea of showing kindness first in mind will help you to control the urge to snap at someone.
Finding a way to spread a little kindness isn’t hard; all you have to do is commit yourself to doing it and you’ll see the opportunities present themselves left, right and center! Be the start of a kindness ripple effect: it will come back to you again and again!