Spark kindness with words and actions – the health of those around you depend on it!
Lately I’ve been thinking about the fact that we can give so much joy and pleasure to one another, as well as a good amount of grief, especially in these tenuous times of COVID-19.
With most countries still under lockdown – families, partners and friends who live both together and apart must find new ways of finding balance between space and connection, all while managing the stress of uncertainty.
As humans, we are undeniably social creatures. In fact, it is because of this quality that we have been so evolutionarily successful. Just as killer whales hunt in pods and wolves run together in packs, we form societies in which we take on different roles and therefore must rely on one another.
This means that we are fundamentally bound to each other and this bond can even be observed on the biological level.
For example, humans have almost twice as many muscles in our face to express complex emotion as compared to our close genetic relatives the chimps and a part of the human brain is specifically dedicated to facial recognition and detection.
In fact, humans are the only organisms to develop species-specific tools such as language and history.
Nature has designed us to care deeply about what others think, say, and communicate. Obviously evolution has invested a lot in us so that we are able to communicate with each other.
It does so by not only giving us the biological machinery to do so, but also hormones and neurotransmitters to subconsciously drive our behavior in our interactions with each other.
For instance, it’s been proven that when we are lonely, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released and persistently high-levels of this hormone negatively impacts our health and well-being.
Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness literally kills because we are hardwired to need and care about one another.
However, simply being surrounded by people isn’t enough.
If someone is socially connected but treated unkindly by way of bullying or ostracism, the same devastating mental and physical effects are experienced.
Given this evidence, to pretend that we don’t need each other or don’t affect each other with our words and actions is disingenuous.
In our modern times where opinions and self-expression are highly celebrated, perhaps we should instead learn to be kinder and more considerate to one another.
After all, which one hasn’t changed their opinion or realized an opinion was simply a reaction to a passing mood or fleeting thought?
It’s not easy but with effort you can be more mindful with your words. I’ve found this is a simple formula to evaluate your opinion before you share it and spark kindness.
Before expressing your opinion, consider the following questions:
- Is what I’m saying true?
- Is what I’m saying kind?
- Is what I’m saying necessary/helpful?
I hope this post has helped you think about being kinder with your words and actions.
Remember – we are as much represented by the things we say and do as by the things we don’t say and don’t do!
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Hi, I’m Naudia Lou. I explore topics such as mindfulness, health, training, nutrition and psychology. I’m a neuroscientist turned yoga teacher. In my pastime, I’m an avid rock climber, free diver and traveler so you can expect occasional forays into those topics too.