Kindness can be an Antidote to Stress
Did you know that kindness produces happy chemicals in the brain? Kindness expert Dr David Hamilton wrote in his latest book “Kindness is more than something we do. Kindness has physical effects on the brain, the heart, the immune system and throughout the body in many different ways.”
Here are some ways that practising kindness can improve your life as well as others:
1) Kindness makes us happier
Genuine kindness evokes warm feelings of joy, happiness and love. If that isn’t enough, kindness has been proven to release the ‘happy hormone’ trio serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. This lighting up of the pleasure centres of the brain causes the stress region of the brain to dim and shrink in size over time.
So kindness is actually an antidote to stress which in contrast causes cortisol (the stress hormone) to be released in the body, increasing your heart rate, bloody pressure and inflammation in the body over time. While we all experience stress to some degree in our lives, managing our stress levels is an important aspect of maintaining good health and wellbeing. Kindness is just the ticket to help with that.
2) Kindness Creates a Sense of Belonging & Connection
Human beings are social creatures and studies have shown that the quality of our social connections impact our overall health and wellbeing. Kindness not only strengthens current relationships (including the one with yourself) but also helps develop new ones and even helps you connect with strangers.
At Avenue Hampers we absolutely light up when we write the kindest, most heartwarming personal messages that our customers send us to be included with our hampers; it truly adds a sentimental and personal touch to the recipient’s gift (we may have shed a few happy tears). Sending a luxury gift hamper to show how much you love and appreciate someone is a great way to strengthen your relationship and help them feel loved.
3) Kindness is contagious
Did you know that when you are kind to someone, they are more likely to be kind to others? Not only that, but even witnessing an act of kindness fuels a person’s likelihood of being kind to themselves and others. Now that’s a bug that we’d like to help spread!
There are countless ways to practise kindness toward yourself and others. Even small acts of kindness when done often can have a long term positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Here are some kindness tips that you can get creative and have fun with:
1) Give compliments
Recall a time that you gave or received a compliment – we bet that it still brings a smile to your face and gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling! Giving a sincere compliment is one of the simplest and most impactful acts of kindness. So next time you admire a quality in someone, see a social media post that moves you or hear a busker sing beautifully – take a moment to let them know, from the heart that you see them.
2) Random Acts of Kindness
A random act of kindness is a kind action to the outside world that is not premeditated or consistent but is so fun to do! Studies have shown that the pleasure centres in our brain actually react more strongly to unexpected pleasures than the ones we expect too. Yay to surprises! Stay alert to opportunities for random acts of kindness that show up everyday; allow someone to merge into traffic in front of you, tip the friendly barista, offer your magazine to a neighbour on the bus once you’ve finished reading it.
Our sister company Little Shop of Happiness has had so much fun spreading kindness all over Australia in the last few weeks by leaving gift hampers and positive notes out in public for strangers to find.
3) Loving Kindness Meditation
During this powerful, visualisation meditation practice, you focus your attention on sending or receiving loving, benevolent energy. When practised regularly, it can improve self-acceptance, increase your capacity for forgiveness and strengthen relationships with others.
If you have the time and energy, volunteer to a cause that’s meaningful to you. This could look like a local beach clean-up, helping out at a dog shelter or sorting clothes in an op-shop. Not only is volunteering a great way to contribute positively to your community but it’s also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and expand your life experience.
5) Pay it Forward
Next time someone is kind to you, pass it on to someone else in a way that feels good and natural to you. It doesn’t need to be like for like either. Let’s say someone buys you dinner, you could bake cookies for your neighbour or send an unwell loved one a get well gift hamper delivery. We have a wide range of gift hampers for her and him that are bound to light up the recipient if you ever need some inspiration.
A note from us:
We love that only good can come from kindness. So start practising it everyday and notice just how much it impacts your life and the lives of others. Don’t forget that you deserve the kindness you give to others too. For more ideas on how you can treat yourself a little better, check out our self-care blog post.