Being kind to others can make you feel good. But did you know that kindness has measurable health benefits?
Research indicates that being kind improves a person’s self-esteem and mood. In addition, kindness has physical effects, including decreased blood pressure and stress levels. Being kind, it turns out, can help you stay healthy.
The best way to increase your capacity for kindness is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are some tips for strengthening your kindness “reflex”:
- Be mindful. Think about the words you choose and the impact they have on others. Simple politeness, such as always saying “please” and “thank you,” is a great place to start.
- Monitor non-verbal behavior. Smiling and maintaining eye contact lets others know that you see them and care about what they have to say. In addition, stay alert to the messages others are sending through their body language. If someone seems stressed, worried, or sad, express concern and ask what you can do to help.
- Be empathetic. Avoid taking someone else’s bad mood personally. Instead, give them space to work through whatever is troubling them. You can’t fix someone else’s problems, but you can provide emotional support.
- Offer encouragement. Compliment others on their successes and uplift those who have experienced setbacks. Look for ways to brighten another person’s day.
- Focus on the positive. It’s easy to get trapped in negative thinking. Instead, try to look at the positives in a situation. Encourage others to do the same.
- Practice self-care. Maintaining your emotional and physical resilience will help you keep irritability at bay. It’s important to be kind to yourself, too.
- Keep in mind that kindness is contagious. When you are kind to another person, they are more likely to be pleasant in return.