I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately. What does it mean to be kind? Am I kind? How often do I show kindness to others? As I think about these questions, my mind starts to kicking up dirt, and out of curiosity I Googled kindness just to see what came up. Along side Wikipedia’s definition of kindness and numerous quotes, I found an article on the health benefits of kindness on a website called, “Pathways to Family Wellness.” Hmmm. I’m intrigued. So I read on. Here’s an excerpt from the article.
“Being kind has a profound impact in the lives of others but you may not know how much of a positive health benefit it delivers to you as well.
People who perform acts of kindness would agree that being kind to someone else makes them “feel good.” Scientific research shows that it not only can make you feel good but being kind has a significant health benefit, both physically and mentally.
Allan Luks, the former executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of Health and executive director of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of New York City studied kindness and documents his findings in his book, The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others.
Luks’ study involved more than 3,000 volunteers of all ages at more than 20 organizations throughout the country. He sent a 17- question survey to these volunteers, asking them how they felt when they did a kind act. A total of 3,296 surveys were returned to Luks, and after a computerized analysis, he saw a clear cause and- effect relationship between helping and good health. Luks concluded, ‘Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.'”
Interesting. I knew that it felt good to help others, but I didn’t realize there were actual health benefits. Bonus. Another one for my recent post, “Selfishly be someone else’s miracle.”
I continued mining through the returned results from my search, and stumbled up on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website. Aaah, sweet inspiration. Just reading the stories people have posted about acts of generosity and compassion began to fire up my tenderness tapas. The thing is, random acts of kindness don’t have to be award-winning gestures of selflessness. Merely being there for another human being in any form IS kindness. And, sometimes kindness simply means NOT harming another. Not cutting someone off in traffic. Not voicing your frustration to the customer service representative. Not winning an argument.
“It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to resist from harming them.” The Dalai Lama
Kindness is always an option. How will you show kindness today?
– Your Charmed Yogi