In a recent article in The New York Times, writer Adam Grant describes how many people are experiencing the feeling of languishing – the feeling of stagnation and emptiness, and muddling through. That resonated, and just acknowledging that I’d rather be flourishing than muddling through made me wonder, what can I do each day that will help?
And that made me think about kindness – giving and receiving it, and also noticing and remembering past kindness.
When we’re kind to each other, we feel connection, and new relationships are forged or existing ones strengthened. That’s in part because when you act with love and kindness, you turn toward the other person and that’s a critical first step. And when you take time to see that other person you start to care about them.
But yet, when you’re going through a hard time, like we have over the past year, it’s hard to muster the energy to feel kindness from others or take the time to share kindness, even if you mean to do so.
What if you knew that turning towards kindness would help improve your mood, give you more energy and more?
Well, there are actual scientific studies on the effects of sharing and receiving kindness. Basically, kindness makes you happier, improves your mood and supports your mental health. And it’s good for your body as well – it boosts your immune system, protects heart health and slows aging. Yes, that does sound like a miracle drug.
Kindness works whether you’re giving kindness, receiving kindness or just putting kindness out into the world without anyone but you knowing about it. And kindness is catching (in a good way). When you do an act of kindness, the person to whom you’ve been kind is more likely to be kind to at least one other person.
You can start slowly. How about being kind to yourself as a first step? And then notice or do one thing that helps spread kindness. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
And here’s that NY Times Article.