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Develop a Kindness Approach

Let’s Develop a Kindness Approach

Why is kindness so important?  Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place. An act of kindness can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness, and optimism. They may also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they've experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community.  Take a moment to think about what really brings you purpose and joy in life—whether that’s spending time with loved ones, developing a creative hobby, taking part in your wider community, or some act of kindness you do for others?

Research increasingly supports the long-held belief that kindness is good not only for others, but also for ourselves.  Demonstrating kindness has actually been shown to create a number of benefits, including happier lives, reduced stress, and healthier bodies.

In a recent research study, Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee and Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University reported lower blood pressure in people who were kind and gave social support to others.  The body reacts to kindness chemically by creating elevated levels of dopamine in the brain that create a natural high.  If you would like to consider adding acts of kindness to your daily life, below are several suggestions on how to accomplish that.

  • Decide to be kind. Each morning tell yourself that you will focus on being kind. Set your mind and body toward that goal, and it will soon become a habit.
  • Increase your awareness. Start noticing kindness; it’s all around you, if you just look for it. When you raise your awareness level of others around you, you will begin to notice their acts of kindness.
  • Be appreciative. If someone shows you a kindness, no matter how small, appreciate it. Instead of brushing it off or saying "you didn't have to do that," simply say "thank you."
  • Look for opportunities to be kind. Something as simple as a compliment or paying attention in a conversation are kind gestures. So are volunteering to help someone in need.
  • Smiling not only creates good feelings within yourself, it cheers others. Be sure to give a true smile, and not a fake one. One of the best ways to make your smile more genuine and real comes from researcher Andrew Newberg: "We just asked a person, before they engage in a conversation with someone else to visualize someone they deeply love, or recall an event that brought them deep satisfaction and joy."
  • Be kind to yourself. We're often too hard on ourselves, and we don't need to be. You, too, deserve the kindness you may only reserve for those around you. Treat your self with the special kindness we so often reserve for others.
  • Be kind to the people closest to you. Show kindness in your community.  So often we take for granted the people who are closest to us.   Kindness is contagious and that little act of kindness or graciousness you provide to someone else will most likely spread to others in a "pay it forward" way.

Below are a few easy activities to get you started: 

  • Find out the name of a new resident; stop to say “hello.”
  • Send an encouraging email.
  • Show your gratitude with a simple 'thank you.”
  • Help your neighbor take out the trash.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer to help your community.
  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Call a friend you've been meaning to get in touch with.
  • Pick up litter.
  • Run an errand for one of your elderly neighbors.
  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Be kind on social media.

Well, that sums up kindness for now! It's being selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditionally kind. It’s interrupting our “Inner Critic” and cultivating kindness, not only toward others, but toward ourselves as well.  People who are kind act that way not for any reward or even recognition but because it is the right way to behave and the way a person wishes others would act towards them.

Remember the “old adage,” “In a World Where You Can Be Anything, BE KIND!”