Why is Kindness Good for You?

In my Hypnotherapy and NLP Coaching practise, my clients often want ways to improve their general health and well-being. Sometimes I say ‘Do you know that being kind to others makes you happy?’ Apparently, acts of kindness help to relieve symptoms of depression and help us to live longer, healthier lives. According to Dr David Hamilton, author of Why Kindness is Good for You, there is plenty of research to back this up. So how can we begin to incorporate the health and happiness giving acts of kindness into our everyday life. Here are some ideas that I might pass on to my clients:
1. Pay someone a compliment. It doesn’t have to be over the top but it does need to be genuine. If you don’t really ‘feel’ the compliment, then you won’t be benefitting from the increased ‘happy hormone’ such as oxytocin.
2. Buy something for someone. It’s not about how much you spend, of course. As they say, ‘It’s the thought that counts’ and that is so true. I like to take a gift when I’m invited to someone’s home. A small bunch of flowers, scented candle or bar of sweet smelling soap always brings a smile to their face – and mine! Last week I bought a sandwich and a drink for a homeless person (we have lots of them in Brighton) and I felt good for the rest of the day.
3. Think more kindly of your family. I know it’s is hard sometimes when people are being difficult but the bottom line is that ‘blood is thicker than water’ and even if we wouldn’t choose some of family, we do feel a bond with them. Challenge yourself to think something positive about each member of your family.
4. Value your friends. Unlike family, we do choose our friends and there is tons of research that show that the happiest people have at least one really good friend. Is it time to let that person know what they mean to you?
5. Practise ‘loving kindness’ thoughts. I meditate frequently and one of my favourite meditations is ‘loving kindness’. It simply involves sitting still for 5-10 minutes, breathing slowly and relaxing your body and repeating in your mind ‘May you be well. May you be happy. May you be at ease.’ You can send this prayer to yourself, your loved ones and your community. Enjoy!

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