Kindness seems to be missing in today’s society. People are more connected to their devices than to what is happening around them. They are self-absorbed. Kindness is oftentimes the last thing they think about.
But without kindness, our world would be filled with strife, discontent, and anger. We’d see relationships fall apart or never start, countries disintegrate into constant war, and our world completely changed.
“Constant kindness can accomplish as much as the sun making ice melt. Kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
According to Dr. John and Julie Gottman – founders of the Gottman Institute, which studies relationships – every successful relationship is, in the end, supported by kindness. What’s more, they claim the most important time you should be kind is during some type of conflict, such as when you are arguing with a partner and yet, this is the hardest time for most people to be kind.
“Kindness is about showing empathy, acceptance, and tolerance,” explains Lawrence Stoyanowski, a Vancouver-based therapist.
“It’s about being able to scan your partner for things to appreciate rather than criticize.” Stoyanowski follows the principles set out by the Gottman Institute. How Kindness Affects Us.
Throughout our lives, from childhood on, we look for kindness from our family and friends. We give and receive kindness every day in some form, even if we’re not aware of it. Kindness moves us. We remember past kindnesses done to and by us. Kindness nourishes, heals, strengthens, and uplifts us.
Many studies have shown that not only is kindness a good moral value but it is actually good for you on a physical level. It benefits your brain, your body, and your emotions in many ways. It is a foundation for a meaningful life. Here are some reasons why kindness is so important:
- Kindness makes us happier. When we perform random acts of kindness, we activate areas of pleasure, social connection, and trust in our brains.
- It creates a positive loop in our minds. Kindness makes you happier and happiness makes you kinder. When you are happy, you are more likely to feel giving and kind towards others.
- Kindness can create social connections and bonding. As humans, we’re preprogrammed to be a part of a group. Being a part of a group, having a social connection of some type, enhances our physical performance and boosts mental clarity. Being kind allows us to be a part of a group.
- Kindness helps with the healing process. When healthcare is delivered with kindness it can hasten the healing process, thereby shortening hospital stays. Kinder care leads to a range of outcomes including reduced pain, lowered blood pressure, and less anxiety for the patient and caregivers.
- Kindness can decrease or help prevent diseases. Kindness lowers our stress and anxiety levels and decreases pain because of the endorphins and feel-good hormones released at the time of the act. These positive emotions have been proven to stimulate your vagus nerve, which regulates blood sugar. This can help your body prevent diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.
- Altruism has been shown to stimulate the reward area of our brain. Studies suggest that we get high on being kind.
No matter how inconsequential an act of kindness might be, it is good for you. Without kindness, life would be lonely, filled with anger and desolation, disease and stress.
But when kindness is both given and received with no expectations in return, our lives are calmer, happier and we build meaningful connections to others.
In these continuing difficult times caused by the pandemic, it behooves us to try to remember how important kindness is, and how it can change our lives for the better. Let’s try to notice the small kindnesses we encounter every day, and try to give kindness, unasked for, whenever we can.