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the science of kindness


It's easy to be kind. It's natural for most. But for those of you who ask, "What's in it for me"... let me tell you. ALOT!


This isn't a blog that is me on a pulpit preaching selflessness. It's about treating each other with compassion and offering something that many people are craving and most are lacking: contact, a kind smile, a reassuring wink. Showing someone kindness doesn't revolve around giving tangible things. Although, showing kindness through a gift or a card is one way to express it. Being kind merely means: don't be mean. Give of yourself.


Kind acts can catch on like wildfire. Laughter and smiles are contagious - so spread them far and wide! There is a new trend revolving around random acts of kindness (RAK) that have reignited a spark of doing good for others; pay it forward as you've heard.


Let's get back to those of you who ask "What's in it for me?" I found a great article online at theconversation.com that says kindness "activates an area of the brain called the striatum. Interestingly, this area responds to things we find rewarding, such as nice food and even addictive drugs. The feel-good emotion from helping has been termed “warm glow” and the activity we see in the striatum is the likely biological basis of that feeling. Of course, you don’t have to scan brains to see that kindness has this kind of benefit. Research in psychology shows a link between kindness and well-being throughout life, starting at a very young age. Research has also shown that spending extra money on other people may be more powerful in increasing happiness than spending it on yourself." Maybe that's why we call it the 'warm fuzzies'!


Now all of this kindness toward others is wonderful but don't leave yourself out. Remember to be kind to yourself. Sound weird? Well, it's the best gift you can give yourself. Be patient with yourself when you make mistakes, when you feel overwhelmed or when you disappoint yourself or others in any way. We are all human and it is 'human to err'. Forgive yourself and don't forget to reward yourself. Get that ice cream when you want it. Buy those shoes. Do what makes you happy - that's the best form of kindness you can show yourself. Don't wait for others to do it for you. Create your own sunshine.

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