Strengthen your own sense of wellbeing and others’ as well
| By Ruth Mendelson, MSW, LCSW
Kindness is Cool, Actually Really Cool
“Kindness is cool” is a catchy phrase and not to mention a popular t-shirt logo these days. “Be Kind,” “The Power of Kindness,” these are popular sayings. Children and adults both connect to the simple yet significant message.
Kindness can have profound ripple effects and whether you are a parent teaching children, a young adult trying to make it in the world, a seasoned human who has seen a lot of life, you are not immune to the value of kindness. Kindness is paying attention, kindness is showing compassion, kindness can make you feel good. This post is about how you can incorporate kindness into your life and why you should.
Connecting Over Kindness
The common byproduct of kindness is feeling connected, a sense of belonging and community. These are the types of feelings that are wellbeing GOLD. Being able to have and even increase feelings like this can directly impact our levels of happiness (increase in the feel-good hormone, serotonin). The American Psychological Association highlights in this article how kindness can boost mental and physical health.
Kindness Can take Courage
Being kind is not always the easy thing to do, sometimes it requires us to give up something we might want for ourselves. Sometimes, it might involve us taking a risk, separating ourselves from others. This can require some bravery and potential embarrassment. What comes to mind is standing up for someone. In that act, a person is showing their concern, empathy, and strength, but at a potential cost.
No pun intended, but not all take kindly to kindness. Sometimes, the easier road is not saying anything or doing anything and leaving a person in a vulnerable state in that vulnerable state. That is why, there is some courage in kindness. The ability to build confidence through courageous acts is an important part of improving wellbeing.
Building Kindness Habits
How do you build a skill set? How do you strengthen a muscle? How do you learn anything new?
You need to practice, you need to make it a habit, a priority. Kindness is a skill that can be learned. If you recognize some opportunities to strengthen that kindness muscle — go for it! Frequent repetition will help build any skill, kindness included.
Again, the purpose is twofold, kindness is contagious. By doing for others, you are positively impacting your own mental health and wellbeing.
Closing Thoughts and a Story
Whether it be a simple act of kindness or a grand one or maybe something in between, the value can be immeasurable.
Here is a story to summarize and drive home the impact of kindness.
Someone close to me was having a hard day, experiencing multiple stressors and feeling really zapped of energy, ideas, motivation, etc. This person was depleted. This person was about to make a sandwich for lunch (something this person did not have any time to do), when a member of her household offered to make the sandwich for them.
The sandwich was made with the same ingredients the person would have used and made the exact same way. But for some reason, the sandwich tasted 100% better than it would have if she had made it herself.
What gives???? It was the kindness, the act of help, coming to someone’s aid in a time of need that made the sandwich taste so very delicious.
If you are interested in connecting to someone who can help you find ways to enhance your wellbeing and mental health care needs, please reach out. If you want to learn more about tools that can help you, a licensed therapist or counselor can support you with your goals.
Ruth enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dog. She loves to cook, spend time outdoors and go to the beach (even when it’s cold outside).
Check out Ruth’s professional bio here!
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- Learn more about the benefits of kindness by clicking here