“Constant kindness can accomplish as much as the sun making ice melt. Kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”Albert Schweitzer
Kindness seems to be missing in today’s society. People are more connected to their devices than to what is happening around them. Kindness is oftentimes the last thing people think about. Without kindness our world would be filled with strife, discontent and anger. We’d see relationships fall apart or never start, countries disintegrate into constant war and our world completely changed.
According to Dr John and Julie Gottman – founders of the Gottman Institute, which studies relationships – every successful relationship is, in the end, supported by kindness. They claim the most important time you should be kind is during some type of conflict, such as when you are arguing with a partner and yet, this is the hardest time for most people to be kind.
“Kindness is about showing empathy, acceptance and tolerance,” explains Lawrence Stoyanowski, a Vancouver-based therapist. “It’s about being able to scan your partner for things to appreciate rather than criticize.”Stoyanowski follows the principles set out by the Gottman Institute.
As children and even as adults, we look for kindness from our familia and friends. We give and receive kindness every day in some form. Kindness moves us. We remember past kindnesses done to and by us. Kindness nourishes, heals, strengthens and uplifts us. Many studies have shown that kindness though, is not only a good moral value but it is good for you. It benefits your brain, your body and your emotions in many ways. It is a foundation for a meaningful life.
Here are 6 reasons why kindness is so important.
- Kindness makes us happier. When we perform random acts of kindness, we activate areas of pleasure, social connection and trust in our brains.
- It creates a positive loop in our mind. Kindness makes you happier and happiness makes you kinder. When you are happy, you are more likely to feel giving and kind towards others.
- Kindness can create social connections and bonding. As humans, we’re preprogrammed to be a part of a group. Being a part of a group, a social connection of some type, enhances our physical performance and boosts mental clarity. Being kind allows us to be a part of a group.
- Kindness helps with the healing process. When healthcare is delivered with kindness it can speed up the healing process, shortening hospital stays. Kinder care leads to a range of outcomes including reduced pain, lowered blood pressure and less anxiety for patients and caregivers.
- Kindness can decrease or help prevent diseases. Kindness lowers our stress and anxiety levels and decreases pain because of the endorphins and feel-good hormones released at the time of the act.
Positive emotions from kindness also boosts your vagus nerve which regulates blood sugar. This helps the body prevent diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Altruism has been shown to stimulate the reward area of our brain. Studies suggest that we get high on being kind. No matter how inconsequential an act of kindness might be, it is good for you. Without kindness life would be lonely, filled with anger and desolation, disease and stress. But when kindness is both given and received with no expectations in return, our lives are calmer, happier and we build meaningful connections to others.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.