“Kindness is loaning someone your strength.”
The last week of August is recognized as Be Kind to Humankind Week. I think we should start early and dedicate the entire month of August to this effort.
All too often, we get caught up in our own lives and focus on just trying to manage. We are busy with daily chores, work, kids, sports, family commitments…The days seem to go by without a pause. Sometimes making the smallest effort can break up the monotony and have a profound impact.
What I have learned in my practice is that kindness goes a long way. Just making simple gestures can change a person’s entire day – maybe even week. Kindness is two-fold. It gives a euphoric high to the giver and a feeling of comfort to the receiver. Most often, I actually prefer being the giver than the receiver. The reward is so much deeper. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get is actually good for you – it can boost your physical and mental health. It can increase your self-esteem, lower your blood pressure, impede depression, lower stress levels and cause a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
In fact, evidence suggests that when gift-giving, humans secrete dopamine (the “feel good” chemical), serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical).
We are still living in a crazy, tumultuous time. It seems people continue to be on edge and are just trying to get by to the best of their abilities. Combining that with an unknown future may cause people to project some of those fears and uncertainty onto others. Let’s try to break the cycle. Let’s make an effort to remind each other of human compassion and kindness and offer small tokens that make people feel seen and appreciated. A kind word, a cup of coffee, a phone call, an unexpected note of encouragement, holding a door open…You never know what someone else is going through. One small gesture can give them a new sense of hope.