“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” – Albert Schweitzer
The past year+ has been challenging for us all. As we watched the election process, we saw hate come to the forefront, a candidate promote negativity and hostility toward others, and observed just how divided our country is.
Fast forward to the election, when that candidate is now our President. Whether or not you support his policies, it is hard to support how he talks to, and about, others. Instead of unifying the country as we hoped he would, the country continues to be angrier than ever, with acts of violence and hatred abounding.
“What can we do?”, people are asking. “How do we talk to one another and our children when there is so much tension?” It starts with one simple idea: be kind.
A recent study by the Children’s Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street, found that parents are worried that the world is an unkind place for their children. In a survey they conducted, 70% of the parents asked expressed concern about the kindness in their children’s world. Teachers also felt worried about how kind children are today.
Kindness has all kinds of benefits. It is essential in relationships, for work success and academic achievement and in building one’s self-confidence and self esteem. Being kind can improve one’s mood and sense of happiness and increase a sense of connectedness in one’s community. Some research also notes that being kind reduces your stress, which promotes physical wellbeing. Sounds like being kind is a REALLY good option.
It doesn’t take much.
A FEW WAYS TO BE KIND TO OTHERS
- Do a random act of kindness: It can be as small as a smile to a stranger to buying coffee for the person behind you on line. A study out of the University of California found that people who performed a variety of random acts of kindness over a ten-week period reported feeling happier overall.
- Contribute: A community thrives when people are kind. Give back to those in yours, and the return will be worth it.
- Smile: A smile, even when you are feeling emotionally dysregulated, can change the message to your brain and actually start to make you feel more positively. Imagine how that transmits to others, who see you doing it. Smiling is as contagious as laughter. Try it and see.
We all have an innate ability to be kind. Sometimes, when the weight of the world is on our shoulders, it’s hard to remember the benefit. If we can slow down, take a breath, and just be nice to one another, who knows what kind of change we might see in our world?