In these strange and unusual times, it’s inevitable to become wrapped up in the current pressure of living. With all the additional pressures, it’s easy to forget about the simple act of being kind.
The list is endless, occupying the children, worrying about work, getting yourself kitted up with PPE to undertake a shift at work or working from home, perhaps with a child as well. It can seem to take over and the weeks fly by without you realising that you’ve not spoken to that friend of yours for ages or your elderly aunt.
You might find you’re much busier and your patience is wearing thin with the little things that may not have bothered you previously. It’s becoming almost too much to bear in the current climate. With rules and guidance changing on a daily basis (it seems) this creates underlying uncertainty and anxiety without you realising. You may find yourself acting out of the ordinary and feeling wound up at the slightest thing. Now is a good time to stop and remind yourself to be kind, it’s needed more than ever!
You have to start with being kind to yourself. Give yourself 5 minutes to relax, practice some deep breathing – (click the link for breathing exercises https://www.facebook.com/livelifenotstrife/posts/2752713634951953), and tell yourself ‘I am a good person’ whether you believe it or not, make it your own personal mantra! Or if you can’t do that, think of something you’ve done that makes you feel good. This promotes a sense that whatever happens you’re good enough! It will increase your self-confidence and help you to act kindly to others.
Smile! A basic staple in being kind. You’ll find it gives you a lift if you can remember to smile, even if you force yourself to smile, there is years of research into this very topic that proves smiling can help you to relax and boost the immune system. It turns out my mum was right when she cajoled me into “turning those corners up!” when I was sulking over something as a child. If you smile you can almost instantly feel better, it creates physiological changes in the body and releases feel good hormones. Also, it uses less muscles in the face than frowning and who wants frown lines! A smile creates smiles from others with very little effort. Smile at someone you pass in the street – even if you’re wearing a mask, you can smile with your eyes! You may just make their day a little brighter and chances are you will receive a smile back from them which in turn feels good.
Do something for others as often as you can, but don’t forget to do something nice for you too. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the reactions you get back and it will help you reduce your own stress.
A kind deed can prompt others to be kind, you can be the catalyst of a chain of kindness if you make the first step. Who knows where the chain will lead to! For example, For many years, when I visited my London office every Wednesday, a gentleman who I don’t know from Adam, would always say “Hello” to me as he was letting himself into his office at the same time, and I would say the same back. This basic pleasantry in passing was enough to give me a little lift as I began my day. It made a difference. We can make our own and other people’s lives better and happier with simple acts of kindness.
Another example is when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke at the National Oak Academy online assembly for school children, this year, about the importance of being kind and how being kind in itself creates a good feeling for those carrying out the kind deed and for the receiver. It seems simple, but is easily forgotten in our busy lives.
A friend’s mum used to say “whatever you do in life, always be happy and always be kind” it may be advice that isn’t always easy to follow but is certainly something you should aspire to because now we know the science behind this. Choosing to feel happy and small acts of kindness actually change how our brain functions and reduce stress, by changing brain activity, together with other things it builds emotional resilience.
If you’re finding things difficult at the moment and would like to feel happier in your life, we can help.
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Tiny tips towards living a fuller happier life!