As follow up to my post on Holiday Kindness, I thought it would be appropriate to once again stress the importance of KINDNESS, all year long, but especially during this holiday season.
We are living in a world of tumult, where what we were accustomed to as “normal” is no longer normal. It seems advocating for someone who believes differently, either politically or religiously than you, can result in insults and outright anger and protestation thrown your direction. Our world is different today, it is full of conflict between individuals and groups. We are living in a world of political polarization, not just in the United States but globally, with increased urbanization and technology leading to less direct interactions between people. We live in it, and we have a choice to live in it peacefully or not. Frankly, I prefer the former, because too much anger and “unkindness” is simply not healthy.
November 13, 2019 was World Kindness Day. As the name implies, it was a day for celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, as individuals and organizations. There are currently over 28 nations involved, none of which are affiliated with any religious or political movement. The mission is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations toward greater kindness. For those of you who look to counter culture, I’m sorry to say there is no World Unkindness Day—thankfully!
So what does it mean to be kind. Daniel Fessler, the Director of UCLA’s Bedari Kindness Institute says “kindness is the thoughts, feelings and beliefs associated with actions intending to benefit others.” Mr. Fessler has looked at how people can be motivated to be kind simply by witnessing acts of kindness, and passing along this “contagious kindness.” Engaging in kindness, or contemplating how you can be kind to others, has a variety of therapeutic benefits such as lowering stress, blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. Columbia University physician Kelli Harding says “it helps the immune system…it helps people live longer and better. It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it.”
Here are a few tips for living a kinder life:
- Truly start listening to others (instead of already formulating your answer)
- Answer rudeness with kindness. Think of someone being extremely snippy to you, then say in a friendly tone “did you have a hard day?” You will have diffused the moment
- Include someone on the sidelines. By doing this, you have valued them—it’s truly dehumanizing to go through life unnoticed, unwanted and unloved
- Action and Reaction. Understand when there is unkindness, it’s not about you. When you are triggered, take a deep breath, step back, and when people see you promote kind acts they will be inspired to replicate those acts
Contribution by Gabriella Van Rij
Contributing Editorial by Lauren Turner, BBC News, Washington
Your BoomerGal Connie, and her BoomerGuy Bill, wishing you a life of kindness and grace.