This month I was really grateful to be invited to share ideas and inspiration for an article in Top Sante magazine on kindness. Here's a teeny extract:
2500 years ago, the Greek storyteller Aesop said: ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’. Centuries later, we are beginning to understand that never has a truer word been spoken, for the simple yet powerful act of being kind has far reaching benefits. Kindness is set to usurp mindfulness as 2019’s hottest trend. Both online and offline, us Brits are seeking ways to be actively kind and the kindness revolution is having a profound effect on our physical and mental health. When you are kind, your brain’s pleasure and reward centres light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed, not the giver, according to research from Emory University. ‘This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high,”’ explains Dr Lorna Brocksopp, positive psychology and wellbeing consultant (joyfulsimplicity.co.uk) ‘Kindness has also been found to stimulate the production of serotonin; the feel-good chemical which promotes both physical and mental health - healing your wounds, calming you down when you are stressed or anxious and generally making you feel happy. A study by the University of British Columbia looked at highly anxious individuals who performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.’Helping others can leave you feeling stronger, more energetic, calmer, less depressed and with an increased feeling of self-worth, according to a study from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California. ‘Being kind and caring has also been found to provide a sense of empowerment and increased self-esteem, which is associated with emotional wellbeing,’ says Lorna.
While it can often feel like the world is getting less kind, with headlines frequently reminding us wars are raging and humans are being inhumanely unkind to one another, it is important to remember that kindness abounds. ‘I truly believe in living as kind a life as possible. Every life on this planet counts and every life is connected. We can see that connection through simple acts of kindness,’ Lorna says. ‘It reaches out beyond our socially and culturally constructed notions of hierarchy, prestige and success and touches the heart of every one of us. And it’s never too late to start.’
Thanks so much to the lovely Kim at Phoenix Features for inviting me to be her wellbeing expert for this fantastic article!