How to be kind

Moments of kindness have always been important but today with people feeling the effects of lockdown and self-isolation, they are more critical than ever. Whether it’s providing assistance to an elderly neighbour or simply supporting friends or family, research has shown that being kind to others doesn’t just help them, it brings lots of benefits for our own bodies and minds…

1. It makes you feel good
Human beings are hard-wired to help others, so it’s no surprise that researchers have discovered that the more we help others the more satisfaction and happiness we feel. This ‘helpers high’ is all thanks to our serotonin levels getting a boost when we do something nice for someone else. And that feeling is addictive, so the more we help the more we want to help. Getting started is the first step.

2. It counteracts the effects of stress and anxiety
Helping others encourages us to stay connected, and social connection is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and anxiety levels and to combat depression.

3. It builds self-confidence
Doing good for others or for the wider community promotes feelings of accomplishment and a sense of pride. This ultimately can make you feel more positively about yourself overall.

4. It helps you stay active
Making the effort to help people often means getting out and about, doing new things and meeting new people – all actions that make us more active which also provides a helpful boost to our serotonin levels.

With so many people feeling the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, the #kindnessmatters theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is well-timed. But taking the first steps can be daunting. Whether it’s something big or something small, here are a few ideas on what you can do over the coming days to bring some kindness into your and other people’s lives.