How kind are we to each other and is it still important to us?
I’ve been to the public launch of the ‘Sussex Centre for Research on Kindness’ from the University of Sussex this week, and listened to researchers talking about all things kindness related and some key factors around that.
We certainly start early. Studies revealed young children from the age of 18 months can already demonstrate kindness towards others. How incredible is this? They aren’t fully indulged in our judgmental world yet and therefore do not judge one another but rather show compassion, kindness and love to each other.
Just for a moment, think about the last time someone did something kind for you? Maybe your partner made you a cuppa for breakfast or someone let you in front of the supermarket queue as you just have 3 items instead of a whole trolley. For a brief second it made you happy right? You might even tell your friend that you had a nice interaction today and that is amazing.
What about the givers side? You actually get even more out of it. A good act of kindness goes a long way in your nervous system and can teach you to have more empathy towards others. It will stay with you for longer than the receiver but be aware of the differences between kindness and expecting something in return. It can be easy to fall into that loop which is not the whole point of being kind.
How much does it take to be kind? I think it would go beyond this little blog to explain it in detail. It is fair to say that all these kindness acts have an impact on our wellbeing. It even can have an impact on our development throughout childhood to adult years and how we might cope in difficult times. Think of a kind person you know or maybe a public figure. Quite often we will associate these people as naturally more happy, right? Most likely they are not obsessively worried that if some drinks got spilled that the whole evening might be ruined. Kindness goes hand in hand with compassion, empathy, thoughtfulness and caring. These are all good values we can seek within ourselves.
Can we learn to be more kind?
Absolutely. I think when we are in a more relaxed state (the parasympathetic nervous system) it will feel naturally easier to show kindness to other people.
Just think about it when the sun is shining, you stroll along the beach and someone needs help with a buggy. You will be more likely to instantly help rather than when you are coming from work, in rush hour and trains are delayed.
This means if we take more care of ourselves we are able to take more care of others too. It is a full circle and community is one of the strongest bonds we need as human beings. Besides, we offer all the treatments you need for a more balanced life. Next time you walk home from your yoga class or float, have a look around and you might spot some kindness too. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
Remember to be kind to yourself