…..the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Being kind is an enjoyable experience. It makes you feel good, and useful, and alive, and it validates you as a human being. When you are kind it triggers a number of beneficial physical and psychological responses. The most obvious response is the ‘feel good’ sensation, which has been officially titled the “helper’s high”.

When you do something good, your body rewards you by releasing endorphins. These ‘happy hormones’ create the feel good experience, and also have the capacity to reduce or even block pain signals to the brain. People suffering from physical or psychological pain experience relief when they carry out an act of kindness.

The person who receives a kind act experiences the ‘feel good’ response, too. It’s a nice experience when someone smiles at you, or thanks you, or compliments you, or helps you in some way. It creates a bonding, and in that moment there is a greater sense of worth about yourself and people in general. It is a feeling akin to falling in love, and in that moment you have fallen in love – with the whole of humanity.

It has been scientifically proven that regular, small acts of kindness have a positive effect on your physical and mental well being, but also on your longevity. Kindness is not only a feel good experience, it is also beneficial for your health.

Some tips and ideas to cultivate kindness:

Kindness to Yourself

  • Make time to meditate, listen to relaxing music, or set aside other quiet time for yourself
  • Take a long look at the sky, or a tree, a bird, an ant, or some other, wonderful, natural thing
  • Notice your uniqueness, attitude toward life, and how worthy and lovable you are

Kindness to Others

  • Today take a moment to acknowledge a stranger with a smile…You never know what that simple act of human contact might mean for another person
  • Use social media to promote positive messaging and compassion. Stand up for kindness!
  • Take time to really listen when someone speaks to you
  • Support another person, with no expectation of reciprocation
  • Give someone a genuine compliment: Tell some how much you appreciate their smile, attitude, or something they’ve done well
  • Choose to be more positive with your thoughts and words
  • This is a biggie: make peace with someone who has hurt you.

Kindness to the Earth

  • Leave the car at home and walk, ride or take the train.
  • Do something to help the environment in some way – recycle, get backyard bees, join an organic veggie co-op, grow your own tomatoes.
  • Volunteer you time.

Let’s be more active in our efforts — not because we have to, but because we want to. And not because we’ve experienced kindness from others, but because being kind is the way of the heart. Kindness is always a choice. The more conditioned we are to respond with kindness, the more natural it becomes.