Being Kind Brings Its Own Rewards
I’m the first to admit I’m a big fan of retail therapy. On the other hand, I don’t consider shopping for groceries to be fun at all. For me grocery shopping is definitely a chore.
However, as I was buying groceries today, it seemed the clerk at my checkout was even less of a fan.
She just looked so miserable I felt compelled to find something positive to say.
Glancing at her I smiled and said, “You’re definitely a good packer”.
Honestly, it’s not as inane as it sounds. After all, she really was a good packer. I had noticed that she was scanning the pile and carefully selecting like-minded goods for each bag.
Well, the comment was no sooner out of my mouth then her face lit up with a warm and broad smile. From there we went on to have a short but most interesting conversation about working intuitively and multi-tasking.
As I walked out of the store it seemed to me that she was happier. I felt better too even though I had managed to spend over two hundred dollars on what primarily amounted to fruit, vegetables and assorted rice cakes.
Bottom line is that I felt good about having passed on a very small act of kindness. And, that was even before she pulled a coupon out of the drawer below her cash register that ended up saving me over five dollars.
Turns out, my dear and loving mother, who has always served as an exemplary role model for practicing acts of kindness, was right.
Being kind brings its own rewards.
The researchers agree.
Surveys show that participating in regular, small acts of kindness is beneficial to your health, longevity and well being.
Being kind makes you feel good, useful, and alive. It somehow validates our humanness. We also know that being kind triggers a number of beneficial physical and psychological responses. The most obvious response is the ‘feel-good’ sensation which has been officially titled the “helper’s high”.
When you do something good, your body rewards you by releasing endorphins. These morphine-like substances create the feel-good experience.
Being kind even has the capacity to reduce or even block pain signals to the brain. People suffering from physical or psychological pain actually experience relief when they carry out an act of kindness. Experts say this is because when you practice kindness you are focused on someone else and forget about yourself and your pain.
The person who receives a kind act also experiences the feel-good response. Who doesn’t like it when someone smiles, thanks, compliments, or helps you in some way? It bonds us and somehow seems to create a good feeling about one’s self and people in general.
All of this is well and good except that it also occurred to me as I’m writing this that there’s one person who definitely needs much more kindness than I’ve been providing. That would be me!
I’m not treating myself kindly.
I work too hard, albeit at work that I love, I’m not exercising enough, sleeping enough or having enough fun.
Chances are we all need to take a little time out to be kind to ourselves. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant kindness. It could simply be an hour spent reading, listening to good music, a walk around the block, sleeping in for an extra hour or having a beautiful meal – hopefully prepared by someone else. It is these kindnesses that nurture our spirit and our soul.
So, much as I could probably do more to fine tune this column, I think I’ll just let it go, grab myself a good book and run myself a bubble bath.
Posted on 02-17-08
Hi Brenda, After reading your intro again, Thank you for the reminder that kindness extinguishes negative energy. Today is a good day for me to practice that. Thank you for taking care of the rest of us, in the many communities you look out for. And remember what you wrote, don’t forget yourself•Posted by Angela Lightning on 02/21/08 at 11:39 AM
Next entry: The Importance of Emerging Leaders
Previous entry: White Bikes - A Solution for Inner Community Travel??