When the world feels full of fear and pain, a little bit of kindness can go a long way. In fact, acts of kindness have been proven to boost our feel good hormones, making us feel happier and less stressed.
When we are kind to someone we form a special connection which actually boosts the wellbeing of both parties. And they don’t need to be huge grand acts. This week, I watched a simple but beautiful act of kindness unfold in my teen yoga class between two young women who had only ever spent one hour in each other's company. One commented on how beautiful she thought the other’s hair was and the reaction was incredible. There was emotion, gratitude, and even a physical connection by way of a hug. It was a truly beautiful moment to witness which both parties clearly gained something positive from. We never know what someone else is going through and that one comment or gesture could just turn things around for them.
In yoga we work with a concept called Ahimsa which translates as ‘non-violence’ or more simply, being kind to yourself and others. Our words yes, but also our actions and thoughts, towards others and as importantly, towards ourselves. How often have you found yourself talking to or judging yourself in a way you would never consider behaving towards someone else? As a life coach, this is something I come across a lot and work hard with people to help change that mindset and learn to be kinder to themselves which in turn sends a ripple effect into many other areas of their lives - and those of others.
Sometimes the most difficult circumstances can bring about the most incredible kindness. During the height of the Covid pandemic we saw communities coming together to support and care for the most vulnerable. Right now, we’re seeing thousands and thousands of people emptying their pockets or opening their homes to Ukrainian refugees.
And my favourite part? Scientific research from the British Medical Journal shows that kindness is actually contagious, believed to spread to at least three degrees of separation. A simple smile to a stranger, a helping hand to someone struggling, a complement, a gift, a moment for yourself. Try it and watch the ripple effect. Kindness is often all around us but we’re programmed to focus on the negative. Become aware, notice it and be it.
When we speak, act and think with compassion, become less judgemental and more forgiving, the most beautiful things can happen.
What small acts of kindness could you put out into the world today?