I felt inspired to write about the importance of kindness because of the BBC Article Why being kind could help you live longer - By Lauren Turner BBC News, Washington.
I was fascinated by some of the findings in this article relating to kindness and how engaging in kindness has its own therapeutic benefits.
Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding has been examining the phenomenon in her recent book, The Rabbit Effect. She says: "It helps the immune system, blood pressure, it helps people to live longer and better. It's pretty amazing because there's an ample supply and you can't overdose on it. There's a free supply. It's right there."
The Domino Affect
This type of thinking made me reflect on my personal float journey. My younger years included a lack of self-care and awareness towards allowing myself time to reflect. I think I knew what I needed but did not necessarily have the tools to put this into practice. Once floating entered my life it felt like a whole new world started opening up for me which made me healthier, happier and kinder.
I suppose you could describe it as a classic domino affect; being kind to yourself leads to kindness towards others. Being kind may come naturally to some which is brilliant and something the world needs more of. Yet, in an age of increasing pressures, financial insecurity, and an overall faster pace of life (without sounding too bleak) perhaps kindness does not range very high on one’s list of priorities.
Is that why we have to dedicate a day to ‘World Kindness?’ Or write such articles like the one I have referenced or the one I am even writing? Do we need to be reminded of how to be kind to one another?
This brings me to my point about self-care and why we may need not just want a self-care routine.
We are commonly told how important it is to ‘be kind’ to ourselves, slow down and relax. Some of us get caught up in work and taking care of others that we neglect our own needs. We forget that we are not super-heroes and we deserve if not need to Rest and Recover.
Here are a few of my personal tips on how self-care may lead to kindness:
- Listen to your body’s needs and you may find you are listening attentively to others.
- Allow yourself to become open-minded; it could open you up to people you never thought you could relate to.
- If you experience negativity and unkindness around you then remind yourself, it is less about you and more about the other. Reflect on your own actions and choose to respond in a way that brings you peace of mind.
- Enjoy being alone through meditation, walking or floatation therapy because this is where you discover peace which lends its hand to kindness.
Floating as an act of kindness
Everyday Michael and I feel fortunate to run a centre in a beautiful village that values health and well-being. Our clients come from near and far to float, rest and learn new ways to enrich their health. It’s the small details that made us realise how much of a difference floatation therapy has on our clients.
After floating, we noticed how neatly our clients would stack towels ready for us to wash and collect, bring back their mugs and sorbet jars (even though its their time to relax.) Or talk to us about a certain friend, family member or partner who would enjoy the benefits of floating. They are eager to spread the joy that they have just experienced to as many others as possible. For us this is true kindness to become so content in yourself that it shows not only in words but actions.
As we come to the end of the year, some of us will look back and wonder what we achieved in the year. We may make bigger plans for the months ahead, realise what we need more of in life. Whatever this time for reflection brings up; let us hope that ‘kindness’ is given a thought.
By placing kindness at the forefront of what we do it could be life-changing. Or it could just mean you have a better relationship with yourself. Having a better relationship with yourself is pretty powerful in its own right.
So spare an hour for yourself, doing something you love and the kindest thing you could do is to share that with someone.