Kindness is THE key to success and harbors many benefits. Unfortunately, being kind is not always something that comes naturally for all of us. Just as being nice is not the same as being kind, kindness is a muscle that needs to be strengthened daily. But once it is in shape, the world changes for you. The power of kindness is so phenomenal that once acknowledged and implemented, the benefits for the receiver and the giver are immediate and positively mood changing. Being able to look at another human being and see yourself in them is the truest sense of compassion, when someone is initially compassionate with themselves. Ultimately, practicing kindness with yourself is the first step in creating a more compassionate environment that you are surrounded by. Once your bucket of compassion and kindness is full, it is then able to overflow into other sources of energy.
Kindness is contagious and we are actually happier when we are practicing acts of kindness. 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". 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. This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people! Although, you do not need an audience to practice kindness, it does create a bigger wave of influence.
Doing something nice for someone also gives the brain a serotonin boost, the chemical that gives us that feeling of satisfaction and well-being. When we help others and do kind acts, it causes our brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that give us feelings of fervor and high spirits. Besides the good feeling that are a result of being kind, when you’re helping someone, you’re not only bettering their lives, you may also be improving your own. Studies show that those who volunteer reap health benefits that may help you live longer. 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.
Being kind to others causes people to want to return the favor to you. Thus making you feel better about yourself to being surrounded by happiness and kindness. Everyone loves being loved. Kindness can be shown through small gestures such as holding the door for someone at the store, or a nice comment on someone's appearance to your friend. However, many underestimate the true outcome of these small acts of kindness. True love and affection can change anyone's attitude and view of the world.
And did I forget to mention, that it just feels so good.
Not sure where to start, here are a few examples that you can start practicing right now with yourself and others:
Smile more often
Express your gratitude
Teach your kids kindness
Stop complaining for a week
Listen to someone who has a problem
Give away your favorite book
Give flowers or food to an elderly neighbor
Leave some money on the street
Reach out to a person in need
Help a disabled person
Buy someone a coffee
Give a hug
Hold a hand
Sending a handwritten card to a friend
Using a kind voice, even when difficult
Donate some clothing
Letting someone through in traffic
Walking instead of riding in your car
Saying "I love you"