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What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the health benefits of kindness. This week we examine the different types of kindness and how to foster greater kindness within.

 

Types of kindness

 

Kindness can be either spontaneous or planned. Spontaneous kindness usually results from a need we see in others in the moment, like offering to carry an old ladies shopping bags when we can see she is struggling or asking a friend who looks upset if she wants to talk or if there’s anything we can do to help. In any given day there are many opportunities to show spontaneous kindness. Once we consciously look for these opportunities and act upon them when they arise, we develop a deeper sense of fulfillment and happiness in life.

 

Likewise kindness can also be planned. For example, for my parents 40th anniversary I sent them on honeymoon as they had never had one when they first got married. This was a meticulously planned event but nevertheless it was an act of kindness. The joy I felt in knowing that my parents had a luxury trip away – the type of holiday they would never have planned for themselves – was immense and made me feel incredibly happy.

 

How to foster greater kindness within

 

Empathy

 

Try to see things from others perspectives and understand that we are all united in so far as we all endure struggles and battle with our fears. If you don’t feel empathic towards others initially you can prompt loving feelings by being kind first, as often when we are kind, feelings of empathy naturally follow.

 

Be kind to yourself

 

Remember that you are just as worthy as everyone else. Take time to practice being kind to yourself too. Often this involves dismissing negative thinking and working on your self-esteem. If you find that you are continually failing to be kind to yourself, read my article on self-esteem and my more advanced article on self-compassion.

 

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How giving our attention can transform family relations

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been guilty of taking my family for granted and not giving them my undivided attention. It’s so easy to do – we are often more comfortable with our family than anyone else, anticipating what they are going to say or wondering off into a daydream whilst they are telling us about their day.

 

Although this doesn’t necessarily lead to conflict (unless you have a old school parent who constantly demands your undivided attention) it can cause family to feel undervalued and they may start to feel like their relationship with you is less close. Ironically, it is because we are so close that we feel comfortable enough to let our minds wonder in the first place, however, this ultimately leads to poorer family relations.

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Why Building Strong Friendships is Important for Our Health Part Two

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the benefits of having strong, long lasting friendships. This week we discover the first three key behaviors that develop strong and deep rooted friendships.

 

1. Regular contact

 

Although I have an extremely busy schedule I make time to contact my friends regularly. I often text them to let them know I am thinking of them. I communicate with them on social media. I call them if circumstances dictate that I won’t see them for a while. When I do see them I make sure the time we spend together is quality time, connecting with them on a deeper level by listening intently and sharing openly.

 

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