Kindness is defined “as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate” (Hall, 2017). While this seems fairly self-explanatory, it is something that tends to be overlooked by society on a daily basis. We live in a country where we are always on the go. Our hectic lives often include working a full-time job while taking care of the kids, pets, friends and of course, ourselves. Especially in these current, unprecedented times, it’s stressful. This is why doing acts of kindness, such as helping a neighbor, volunteering in our community, or simply saying ‘hello’ to a stranger, can be very important.
How does this impact your mental health?
Not only can kindness improve your social relationships, but it can also be beneficial for your mental and emotional well-being. Practicing kindness can actually boost serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain, also known as the ‘happy hormones’ (Fuller, 2018). This is especially good for those with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, who tend to be deficient in serotonin.
How can you get started?
- Become a RAKtivist®
Coined by Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a RAKtivist®, or a ‘Random Acts of Kindness Activist’ is someone who performs a good deed, with nothing expected in return. This could be paying for the person behind you in the drive-through or simply holding opening the door. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, which leads me to the next point…
- Start Small
As a culture, we tend to be perpetually busy and grand gestures can be time-consuming and costly. However, it is possible to practice small acts of kindness in our daily lives. This could include calling a friend, trying to conserve energy, or carrying your neighbor’s groceries.
- Practice Self-Care and Self-Kindness
Self-care is not selfish. We often put ourselves last, but this can ultimately lead to burn out. Practicing kindness towards yourself is extremely important and doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It could include taking a bath, going on a hike, or simply, eating a huge piece of chocolate cake all by yourself.
In honor of World Kindness Day, on November 13th, I encourage you to take this time to incorporate kindness in your everyday routines. Practice extending kindness and grace to others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Guest Blogger: Mollie Clupper, Public Ally
Mollie Clupper is working as a Public Allies AmeriCorps Apprentice for MHA. Using her own experiences, she wants to help bring awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, drinking coffee, and spending time with her fur-niece.
-Hall, K. (2020). The Importance of Kindness. Retrieved on November 4, 2020.
-Fuller, K. (2018, November 13). World Kindness Day: Improving Mental Health Through Kindness. Retrieved on September 24, 2020.