Random Acts of Kindness
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According to research, perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone), and age slower than the average population. Performing acts of kindness not only enhances others’ lives but is rewarding to our bodies and minds through feel-good hormones that are released. However, the effects of kindness aren’t long-lasting, which means cultivating a daily practice of kindness for ourselves and others, is key. Each year, Random Acts of Kindness week is recognized from February 14th to February 20th. There is no better time to cultivate kindness than now!
Benefits of Kindness
Have you ever felt that warm feeling when you’ve done something kind? When we perform acts of kindness, hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released in the brain. These hormones can give you feelings of satisfaction, well-being, and regulate your mood. Performing acts of kindness has been shown to:
- Increase self-esteem
- Increase empathy
- Improve mood
- Increase connectivity and relationships
- Decrease blood pressure
- Decrease cortisol (a stress hormone)
- May increase life span
The best part about kindness is that it is contagious!
Be Kind to your Mind
How can you practice random acts of kindness daily? Well, start with yourself! For a lot of us, we may say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t even say to a friend. Using negative self-talk can create a vicious cycle of constantly being down on yourself. And by being down on yourself, you won’t be able to cultivate a lifestyle and community of kindness for yourself and others.
Here are a few ideas on how to be kind to yourself:
- Practice gratitude
- Give yourself praise and recognition for small daily acts
- Find time for yourself every day
- Forgive yourself
- Practice good self-care (exercise, eat well-balanced meals, practice good sleep habits, stress relief)
- Respect yourself
- Be an advocate for yourself and remember, if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, you probably shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.
Cultivating Kindness in the Community
By learning how to cultivate kindness within yourself, you’ll be able to promote kindness in your work, community, school, and family life.
Simple ways to show kindness in your community:
- Say hello to a neighbor
- Message a friend telling them how grateful you are for them
- Tip more than usual at a restaurant
- Send a handwritten note
- Give a gift card
- Find out something new about a co-worker
Next Article: Exercise Your HEART