Although kindness can be misunderstood as an ineffectual or even superficial nicety, it’s neither. Like many amazing practices I’ve learned through mindfulness training, kindness is inspiring, powerful, courageous and wise. It’s also disarming, compelling and transformative. In any given moment, the kindness you offer to yourself or to others affects what happens in the very next moment.
Like mindfulness itself, kindness is a natural human quality that requires intentional action to realize it’s potential. And like mindfulness, research shows that kindness is good for our physical and our emotional well-being.
Studies show that thinking about, observing or practicing a kind act stimulates that vagus nerve, which literally warms up the heart and may be closely connected to the brain’s receptor networks for oxytocin, the soothing hormone involved in maternal bonding.Kindness also triggers the reward system in our brain’s emotion regulation center releasing dopamine, the hormone that’s associated with positive emotions and the sensation of a natural high.
Kindness—which reduces stress, anxiety and depression—can literally put us, and others, at ease. It works wonders in the relationships we have with ourselves and with everyone else, even with people we don’t know.
Try it next time you are out and about. Offer…