Have you ever adopted a pet and felt good about offering it shelter, love, and protection? Have you ever donated clothes or items you don’t need anymore? Kindness is more than an act — it is a mental state nurtured by our behaviors. There’s no wonder that many studies indicate that kind people live longer, are happier, and improve their mental well-being. Let’s find out what kindness really is and how it can help you improve your mental health.
What Is Kindness?
Some people believe that being kind means that you need to help someone else, usually financially or by donating goods. In fact, kindness is a much broader concept and it’s related to not only money. For instance, here are some frequent acts of kindness we do every day and may not even be aware of them:
- Offering our seat to someone in need, such as people with disabilities, elderly people, or pregnant women;
- Offering to bring a cup of water to someone we work with;
- Hold the door for someone to help them out;
- Surprising your loved one with a note to express your feelings.
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There are many random acts of kindness, ranging from listening to someone who needs support to sending a motivational quote to your friend. Any joke, hug, and smile we offer are how we can treat people with kindness.
Why Kindness Matters
Many of us used to hear a popular quote while growing up: we’d been constantly told by grownups that we should always treat others the way we’d like them to treat us. However, the benefits of being kind are way broader than that. Kindness not only helps someone else but also helps you stay mentally healthy. When you or someone in need goes through a difficult time, random acts of kindness can help overcome many challenges.
Although kindness does not cure mental health conditions, it can be extremely powerful when combined with mental health online therapists and a personalized treatment plan. There are many mental health benefits of being kind, and some of these include:
- Increased happiness
- Increased energy
- Increased oxytocin (also known as the “love hormone”) levels
- Decreased stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Coping with depression and anxiety
There is an opinion that young people engaging in random acts of kindness of any type are less likely to bully others while being more likely to have better relationships with their peers. Thus, adults should encourage the youth to be kind, although it is recommended to avoid rewarding kindness.
For instance, you should not give any financial or other rewards to a teenager who decides to volunteer. Although praise is always important, being kind is rewarding itself, for all the parties involved.
How to Treat People with Kindness?
There are many ways to treat people with kindness that will make you feel good about yourself. Perhaps, the most obvious one is helping someone in need by donating money for an important cause. However, if you don’t have enough spare cash, there’s no need to worry — you can also donate your time, which is invaluable.
For instance, you can volunteer at an animal shelter, local hospital, elderly home, or any other organization you’re interested in. You don’t need to volunteer anytime you have a day off — volunteering from time to time can make a huge difference for struggling charities or non-profit organizations.
It’s extremely important to be kind to our friends, too. There are a few important ways we can help others and positively impact them:
- Supporting our friends with their hobbies or activities. For instance, share your friend’s small business on social media. Being your friends’ supporter is important, and it won’t cost you anything if you simply share their work, praise them for their hard work, and introduce them to your acquaintances. Perhaps, someone will be interested in their products or services.
- Make genuine compliments and praise others for their work (you will make their day!)
- Be compassionate and use words of kindness when talking to others. Tell them how you understand their position (if true), or provide insightful advice (if requested).
- Offer help to people around you and accept help when you need it.
- Say “thank you” and “please” — the magic words that make others feel appreciated.
As we interact with many people every day, conversations can have a deep impact on others. When talking to other people, you should consider how you speak. Do you sound harsh or rude? Sometimes, we can change a few small words to sound more caring and understanding than before.
For instance, try to make your criticism constructive by suggesting how someone can improve and thrive, instead of focusing on what’s wrong. For instance, instead of saying “don’t do this anymore,” use positive affirmations, such as “you could do this instead.” This requires you to be constantly aware of others in your life and diffuse bad situations in the beginning.
However, don’t forget that being kind to yourself is also extremely important. In fact, it is crucial to show yourself kindness each day — at the end of the day, if we do this for others, why shouldn’t we be kind to ourselves, too? You can be kind to yourself by taking care of your health. If you need dental care, you can get a root canal or Dental implants in Tamarac.
It’s important to have high expectations, chase dreams, and work hard. However, sometimes, we need to take a break and just be kind to ourselves. For instance, you may go on a vacation or to the spa, buy a new book, or start therapy to work on your self-development and mindset for the next few months.
While in-person therapy may not be a perfect solution for busy people because of the need to commute to a therapist’s office, online therapy platforms like Calmerry allow you to talk to a licensed therapist from virtually anywhere and enjoy therapy along with flexibility. Learn more about talk therapy so that you will know what to expect from your first conversation with a therapist.
In short, kindness matters. Being kind not only helps us feel better but also makes others happy. You don’t need to donate to a charity to show kindness — simply being polite to strangers, giving your seat to a senior lady, or offering help to your co-worker when they are very busy are all good ways of showing kindness. It’s also important to be kind to yourself – whether it be spoiling yourself from time to time or taking a break from everything and doing something fun or enjoyable.