Keeping it kind

Do you know how much value kindness adds to your life? To some, kindness is a bit of an empty term. If you were asked to reel off words that you associate with strength, leadership and success- I doubt kindness would even make the top ten for most of you. Let’s just say, when we wake up in the morning, practising being kind is not one of the 20 things rushing around our mind that we need to get done, in our busy day ahead! But that’s where we are flawed as hard workers, and general human beings. We are tough on ourselves, and sometimes, tough on our peers.

Kindness. It may come natural to you, it may not- no judgement! How can we be expected to remain calm, kind and thoughtful in the world of Work 24/7? It’s an unrealistic expectation for sure- you’d have to be a robot. But being kind goes further than smiling and saying yes. Being empathetic towards others and thinking before you speak is certainly important- but showing yourself kindness, has been proven in recent studies, to take you smoothly down the road to success, good health and happiness. Sound good?

Often, an issue we have, is saying yes too much, taking too much on, resulting in burn out- that is what’s called being unkind to yourself. It also works both ways… those who freeze up, or decline when opportunities arise, due to self-doubt and lack of esteem must also practice self-kindness. Tell yourself everything you have accomplished- ask yourself why your superior would be presenting you with this opportunity, if they deemed you incapable?

Whether you are a “fretter” or a “go getter”, you should try and find that equilibrium. Almost always in life, a healthy way of functioning will stem back to having a balance. Don’t get me wrong- going above and beyond in your work life is always brilliant and well received. But going above and beyond, then a bit higher, and beyond a little bit more… then a drop higher- can in reverse, cause you to plummet. Constantly taking more on than we can handle, can simply just be too much for us, and result in exhaustion and poor health.

In the world we live in, now more than ever, our resilient compassion as humans is fundamental. Our current climate is too delicate and precarious for us to lose our compassion as human beings. Daniel Fessler, UCLA’s inaugural director claims that “receiving kindness from others, and providing kindness, both of those things are the antithesis of this toxic stress situation. And they’re good for you. Even seemingly trivial interactions, like a barista at a coffee shop smiling and asking how you are, can improve people’s wellbeing.”

Fessler also states that “Engaging in kindness, contemplating how you can be kind to others, lowers blood pressure. It has therapeutic benefits,” he says. “There are benefits for treating depression and anxiety.”

Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding goes more into the depth of importance of kindness in her book The Rabbit Effect. She says: “It helps the immune system, blood pressure. It helps people to live longer and better. It’s amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it. There’s a free supply. It’s right there. Kindness can turn a lot around and help people navigate things in their world”.

So, there you have it. It is becoming more and more prevalently known, that practising kindness is the way forward, and it really isn’t limited on how much we can give to one another- it’s entirely up to us.