There are three ways to ultimate success.
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind
The third way is to be kind.”
– Fred Rogers
STOP! Before you read another word, go stand in front of a mirror and say, “Kindness”. Did you see it? If not, do it again. I know you saw it the second time; the smile that appeared on your face when you said the word. We unconsciously smile when we say the word, “Kindness”. Yes, I know there are those who will say it doesn’t always happen. In fact, some of them are still standing in front of the mirror and frowning as they say it, but they are making a concerted effort to do so.
Think about it, if simply saying the word generates a smile, then what is the impact of creating a moment of kindness for another individual. According to the Mayo Clinic, from a physiological perspective, kindness can positively change your brain. Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are the neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being. It can also decrease blood pressure and cortisol, a hormone,which directly impacts stress levels. Likewise, being kind can also serve to release endorphins, your body’s natural pain killer.
Kindness also serves to connect us. Research tells us that kindness can help life feel more meaningful, and simultaneously brings us a sense of personal satisfaction. When we pursue an act of kindness, which can be anything from a compliment to volunteering, we are investing in something bigger than ourselves. Likewise, when we think of ways in which we can be kind to others, we are establishing the preconditions through which we will later connect with them. In this way, acts of kindness can become a social glue, enhancing connections and positivity in our relationships. Thus, our actions not only shape how others view us, but more importantly, how we view ourselves.
As we emerge from the Pandemic, one of the greatest challenges facing us will be addressing the mental health issues that have emerged over the past fifteen (15) months. Many will continue to feel anxious; the feelings of isolation, limited in-person interactions, and grief are not something that will simply fade into the past. A return to normalcy in a post-pandemic world will be dependent on concerted actions to address these and other mental health issues. Empathy and kindness will be in demand, and it will be our collective responsibility to respond.
Kindness is the glue that holds and strengthens relationships. Kindness becomes the beacon that can make all the difference for those struggling in the darkness of despair and isolation. Kindness enables us to pursue a fulfilling life filled with depth, meaning, joy and love. Most importantly though, kindness is the simplest and most powerful force known to positively change a person’s life. What greater gift can you give?
In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “May the force (of kindness) be with you!”
Embrace The Challenge!