Katie Cavanna: Being a kind person can be good for your health too

World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Can you remember the last time somebody was kind to you? How did it make you feel? Now imagine how others must feel when you are kind to them.

Kindness is vital to the human existence and is an important value to harness. In fact, it is the most important.

Friday, November 13, is World Kindness Day, a day marked to celebrate the people who have brought goodness into the world and also those who want the world to be a better place to live in by sharing their love and care.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou.

A brilliant quote, reminding us that how we interact with others on a daily basis is far more important that what we do.

Regardless of your place in this wide world, whether you’re a billionaire business owner or just managing to make ends meet, how you treat others is one of the defining features of kindness.

There has never been another time in most of our lives where so many people are relying on others - family and friends, as well as strangers.

Most Read

Communities galvanise to help neighbours with shopping, prescriptions, even dog walking. Nurses, doctors, social workers, care home staff look after the vulnerable.

Our community in Torbay continues to display incredible kindness and we should all be so proud of each other.

In this time of extreme uncertainty, so many people have stepped up. There have been and continue to be countless examples of kindness shown in our community.

The brilliant Punks Against Poverty CIC, have been running a much-needed uniform shop in Torquay town centre as well as ensuring all of the pantries across the Bay are stocked with food.

The fabulous team at Eat That Frog CIC are running a community kitchen and community shop; this resource is a vital lifeline for so many.

Kindness, the effect of being friendly, generous, and considerate, costs nothing, but the impact of kindness on an individual is immense.

Not only does it affect how we feel but it also affects us physically. Hormones are released and stress levels are lowered in measurable ways. Mood is enhanced and anxiety and depression improve.

Kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate to others and yourself. Being kind often requires courage and strength, as it involves the willingness to celebrate and give attention to someone else.

It is also about giving honest feedback when doing so is helpful to the other person. Moreover, kindness includes acting and speaking in a compassionate way to others and yourself.

However, do not confuse kindness with weakness. You can be kind and still have boundaries. It is not a replacement for avoiding difficult conversations or standing up for yourself. Just be kind when you are in those situations. Consider, ‘how would I want to be treated if I was in X situation?’.

When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good.

On a spiritual level, many people feel this is because it is the right thing to do and so we’re tapping into something deep and profound inside of us that says, ‘This is who I am’.

On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain and so we get a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’.

Today when we are kind to each other we feel a connection and new relationships are forged, or existing ones strengthened.

Being a kind person can not only change the mood of others, it can be good for your health too.

If you weren’t already, surely great reasons to be kinder as of today!