“We all have mental health and sometimes, like our physical health it can become unwell.”
This week is mental health awareness week. Each year the Mental Health Foundation focuses on a theme and this year the focus is on something which has a great impact to both our mental and physical health, kindness.
It’s may sounds weak, but kindness is not to be messed with. Back strongly by science, the links between kindness, happiness and health cannot be ignored.
“Kindness has the singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops communities and deepens solidarity. It is the cornerstone of our mental health.” Mental Health Foundation 2020.
Research shows us that as children we are biologically wired to be kind. We can develop this trait with practice and repetition and we can pick it up from others, it’s one of those infectious behaviours. Yet, sometimes, due to external influences and stress we periodically can lose this ability.
You’ve probably observed many different behaviours in others and yourself in response to the uncertainty relating to your health, your finances and your future because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Likely also that over the past months you’ve also observed people, communities and groups coming together to support and give to others. Maybe you have been part of this too, sharing, donating, collecting and giving time or expertise for free- acts of kindness.
A significant number of scientific studies have shown that kindness can not only make people’s day, making them smile and bringing them into the present moment, kindness in the giving can provide us with many health benefits too. In addition to the instant benefits- like the feel-good factor, which can actually affect the chemical balance of your heart. Kindness can build and improve your relationships with others, short and long term. Research has found that your kindness habit can have a significant impact on both your physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
A study in the British Journal of Social Psychology found that those who performed a daily act of kindness experienced a “significant” boost in happiness, compared to those who did not.
Kindness produces the love hormone oxytocin which improves our confidence, energy and self-esteem, decreasing depression and anxiety whilst reducing blood pressure. Research has also demonstrated links between having strong relationships and networks and life expectancy.
Like other behaviours we can relearn and cultivate the habit of kindness. It is a contagious habit which can spread real and positive emotion whilst helping us to feel connected during this time of disconnection.
Kindness can alleviate the stress and anxiety that you may be feeling, whilst helping others to relieve theirs too.
A smile, a note, an offer, a gift. Online a message, a like, a share. Kindness is a real, action which we can all spread both personally and professionally.
What will you do…