A kind hug may not be available at the moment, but kindness takes many forms.
We are seeing displays of kindness in frontline workers and all those involved in the fight against Covid-19 . It may be perceived as an expectation, a part of their job, but there is no doubt that many people who are going the extra mile to help to alleviate suffering, and making personal sacrifices, despite fears for their own safety. This is kindness personified and we can all learn valuable lessons from this situation, and even be motivated to contribute in ways in which we may have forgotten.
Science shows us that as children we are biologically wired to be kind. We can develop this trait with practice and repetition and we can pick it up from others, it’s one of those infectious behaviours. Yet, sometimes, due to external influences and stress we periodically can lose this ability.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways and you’ve probably observed many different behaviours in others and yourself in response to the uncertainty relating to your health, your finances and your future .
Our response to stress, change and the scarcity of resources (perceived or real) can put us in “survival mode.” These survival behaviours and our response to stress, may present as selfishness, hoarding, impatience and lacking consideration or care for others as we strive to find our way. We focus on protecting our loved ones, our future and those who we see as valuable to us in our changing future.
However, during turbulent times kindness can help to alleviate stress. A significant number of scientific studies have shown that kindness can not only make people’s day and make them feel valued, it can provide us with many benefits too. In addition to the obvious and instant ones like the feel-good factor (which can actually affect the chemical balance of your heart) and improving your relationships with others in the short and long term. Research has found that your kindness habit can have a significant impact on both your physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
A study in the British Journal of Social Psychology found that those who performed a daily act of kindness experienced a “significant” boost in happiness, compared to those who did not.
Kindness contains many benefits such as producing the love hormone oxytocin, improving confidence, energy and self-esteem, decreasing depression and anxiety, reducing blood pressure and even increasing life expectancy.
Like other behaviours we can relearn and cultivate the habit of kindness. It is a contagious habit which can spread real and positive emotion whilst helping us to feel connected during this time of disconnection.
Kindness can alleviate the stress and anxiety that you are feeling whilst helping others too.
A smile, a note, an offer, a message, a like, a share. Kindness is a real, do-able action which we can all re-start and spread right now both personally and professionally. Kindness is a cure.
Did you take action on this today? I’d love to know. 🙂
Athlete in picture: Amanda French