Sunday, December 2, 2018
Nurturing kindness makes for happier people, more harmonious homes and a healthier society. If you've been noticing the current environment you have found folks looking for happiness. Unfortunately, many are turning to unhealthy habits to look for happiness. Addictions are at epidemic proportions. While drugs or other addictive behaviors may give a momentary feeling of happiness or deaden our uncomfortable feelings, there is no happiness there. Ask any recovering addict if they were happier when they were using than when they were clear of the addiction.
Scientists/Psychologists have studyied happiness for yearsThe look for what makes people happy, thrive, and flourish. They have found that performing positive activities, expressing gratitude or doing acts of kindness, boosts happiness.
This applies to children as well as adults. Kids that do acts of kindness on a regular basis were more sociall accepted, improved their academic experience, increase their inclusivity and make them less likely to bully othere as teens. Nurturing kindness in children is a good investment in the future of our families and community.
You can experience the "helper's high" when diectly helping others. "There is a release of endorphins, a feeling of satisfaction, and overall improvement in physical and emotional health." There are changes in the brain when people think good thoughts do kind acts, or even observe other people performing kind acts.* This is one reason that Social Media posts about actis of kindness can make us feel better when we see them than when we see posts that are negative, hateful, or cruel.
When stressed or in pain, people are looking for ways to feel better. We now know that helping others will help them too. So in a time of high stress, do something for someone else. You will feel better and they will too.
So be kind. My next post will explore the fundamentals of kindness. If you've ever experienced a negative reaction to your kindness, we will explore why.
*This post is based on the book The Kindness Advantage: cultivating compassion and connected children by Dale Atkins, PhD and Amanda Salzhauer, MSW.