Being kind should really be a self-less act, not a self-ish one, right? We should be kind to people just because it’s the right thing to do and because it makes others feel good. You may not have realized though that a benefit of being kind to others is that it truly helps you feel better too. Take a look at the examples below to see how being kind can help turn around the negative thoughts and feelings you might be facing.
Do you ever get nervous when you are going somewhere and you don’t know for sure who will be there to talk to? In unknown social situations like this your focus is typically on you-- how you look, how you should act, or what you should say. Sometimes there is magic in doing the opposite though. Instead of looking inward at yourself, try looking outward and use kindness as a strategy for helping you feel more at ease in social settings.
See what happens if complimenting someone is the very first thing you do when you are around a group of people. Compliments are an easy way to show kindness, and a great ice-breaker for starting a conversation with someone you might not normally talk to. You can also look for that person or group who appear to be feeling awkward, and just smile or say “hi” to them. Being mindful about the people around you prevents you from focusing so much on yourself and helps you to relax.
People who feel really down or depressed describe it as a gray cloud hanging over them that just won’t go away. If you have experienced days like this, you may have felt hopeless and like nothing or no one can help you out of your slump. At times like this it’s easy to focus on yourself and the bad things that are happening to you. So how can you focus in the opposite direction in order to help yourself?
Practicing kindness is a strategy that takes minimal effort and can help you get out from under that dark cloud. Do something (anything) kind for someone else. No matter what it is you do, or who you do it for, being kind is one small step to get out of the hole that you find yourself in. Kindness actually releases natural chemicals in our bodies that can increase energy and improve moods. Focusing outside of yourself empowers you to take control and ultimately to feel better about your life.
Everybody experiences moments when they are down on themselves. At different times you may feel self-conscious, nervous, or embarrassed about how other people view you. You may think that others are judging you, or that you are lacking in some way. When this happens, it’s more comfortable to put up a wall and isolate yourself to avoid dwelling on what others think or say about you.
Learn how to control the view that you have of yourself. When those thoughts turn negative, focus on self-kindness. Instead of comparing yourself to others, look outside for opportunities to be kind. You will gain a sense of being valuable, worthwhile, and empowered. When you help someone else, you will end up feeling better about yourself.
So next time you find yourself focusing on your own problems and disappointments, consider trying Kindness as a Cure. When you focus outside of yourself and are kind, you not only impact others in a positive way, but you will also feel better about you. Being kind to others can change your focus to look towards the future with hope and confidence.