There are scientific benefits to kindness. It’s easy to get caught up in our own feelings especially around the holidays there’s a lot of triggers that can go off. We can have our guard up and we while we might want to be kind, we might find ourselves not being kind – or being kind to certain people and not be kind to others. We can have a lot of ideas about how people ‘should’ behave and without even realizing it – we might have a habit or way of treating people or showing up at a Thanksgiving meal.
The first questions is:
How do you want to show up?
Pause and investigate. Am I showing up during the holiday’s how I want to OR am I repeating patterns and behaviors of the past?
We as humans all have the same basic wish and that’s the wish to be happy and maintain a peaceful mind especially during difficult times.
Research from Emory University shows that when you are kind to another person your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up — it’s called the helper’s high. So what actually happens is you get a burst of oxytocin and the receiver also gets a burst of oxytocin. This is the love hormone and there’s a lot of positive benefits that go with it, which is the blood pressure and improving our overall heart and health and it also increases our self-esteem and optimism which is extremely helpful like I said if you’re feeling anxious or shy a social situation.
And it also can help with depression. Like most medical antidepressants kindness stimulates the production of serotonin, so that’s the feel-good chemical that heals your wounds, calms you down and makes you happy, so there’s a lot of science behind this. And it decreases stress, anxiety, and depression. Of course, there will be people who aren’t kind to you and those are moments, are opportunities for you to notice and realize that maybe they’re struggling or having a difficult time in their life and for you to send them compassion and return your focus on kindness. So if you feel anxious, lonely or disconnected, I highly encourage you to take this practice to heart. It’s kind of like weight training that we can actually build our compassion muscle and respond to others suffering with care and desire to help. So I invite you to keep a kindness journal where you write down something that you did that was an act of kindness on a daily basis and just see how you feel, try it for a week, try it for seven days and see how you feel and if you feel really good to continue.
So just some ideas; you can buy somebody a cup of coffee, you can get somebody a gift card, you can say we show appreciation, give somebody the gift of gratitude and let’s remember that kindness is cool, it’s where it’s at. Keep track of your kind acts. Happy Thanksgiving!