This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is Kindness. It’s never been more important to promote the message of good mental health for all, look out for one another and stay connected.
So what kind thing could you do today? Any act of kindness, however small it may seem, can have an effect. Taking time to listen to a friend, cooking a meal for your family, thanking someone who has impacted your life – these simple actions will make you feel good, whether you’re the one giving or receiving.
There’s a reason that kindness lies at the heart of the essential teachings of every spiritual philosophy in the world since the beginning of time. After all, kindness is at the heart of so many positive human qualities, including compassion, forgiveness, love, friendship, hope and generosity. Whether you practise kindness towards others, or are lucky enough to receive the ‘gift’ of kindness yourself, it has an infinite transformative energy.
Kindness has become a huge ‘movement’ in the electronic age, despite having been generated by a medium that can foster an atmosphere of separateness and aloneness. Today the internet is flooded with heartfelt and well-intentioned ideas from people all over the globe, keen to find ways to practise ‘random kindness and senseless acts of beauty’. This phrase was coined by American artist Anne Herbert, who wrote it on a tablemat in a Californian restaurant back in 1982. Bestselling author Jack Kornfi eld included her story in his writing, promptly launching it into the world and inspiring countless generous actions and selfless good deeds.
KINDNESS: THE ESSENTIALS
- The expression ‘Be kind to your enemies’ sums up the very nature of kindness. It acts as a reminder that everyone is part of the same world and, as such, deserves to be treated with kindness and compassion.
- Even the smallest act of kindness can have a profound eff ect. Aesop, the great Greek fable writer, was certainly onto something when he said, ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.’ Think about a time when you received a warm smile from a stranger when you were feeling low, or someone helped you to carry your heavy luggage, rather than watch you struggle. Both have transformed a negative into something positive.
- Kindness is contagious. When people are kind to each other, a sort of alchemy flows between them. It’s a win-win because the person giving and the person receiving both enjoy a feel-good buzz. The receiver leaves the exchange more likely to want to ‘pay it forward’; to share the generosity to others. And so the magic spreads.
- Kindness is a willingness to full-heartedly celebrate someone else’s successes – to be openly happy for the other person. It’s a wonderful way to lead a more positive life and get more in return.
- Practising kindness on a daily basis can transform your view of the world. Those little exchanges all add up, helping to create feelings of trust and safety. We’re all in this together and can help each other along the way.
- The heart-opening benefits of kindness will ripple through all aspects of your life. You’ll be more mindful of everyone around you and will experience greater feelings of contentment and ease.