Kindness is a principle we can often forget, but it is a hugely important facet of our health and happiness. While we're all learning how to live our lives in the new world with coronavirus, being kind to ourselves and to other people is more important than ever, but it can also feel like the last thing we have the time or energy to do.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is kindess and Able Futures is joining the conversation about how being kind to ourselves and to other people can help us be kind to our mind.
Caring. Compassionate. Loving. Helpful. Friendly. Considerate. Kindness can mean being all or any of these things. It can take courage to be kind and it's a skill that can take a lot of practice to feel as if you've got it right.
If you asked yourself whether you are kind to yourself, a lot of people will think unkind thoughts about themselves in response - maybe you think you are "too kind" by giving yourself a treat to eat, instead of thinking kindly to yourself that you've worked hard for the food you are able to provide to yourself. It can take practice to think kind thoughts to yourself and to behave kindly to other people
So here are some things you could think about to help you be kind to yourself and to others.
Human beings are social and caring species, and the principle of being kind to those around us is an instinctive characteristic. When we act compassionately and practice kindness, our brain releases oxytocin which causes chemicals to be released in our body that reduce our blood pressure and improve heart health. Oxytocin also helps us feel more connected and loved, which are both beneficial to maintaining mental wellbeing. Kindness also makes us happier and gives us a feeling of gratitude and positivity which can help us be more resilient and cope with issues such as depression. And it can stimulate the release of the hormone seratonin which is another helpful way to improve mood and help tackle feelings of anxiety and worry.
But it isn't always easy to know how to be kind, or to feel that we are instinctively able to respond kindly to other people when something happens. Here are some ideas from Able Futures about how you can be kinder to yourself and other people this week.