Part of the Yoginis Yoga Training mission is to spread kindness. Why did we choose kindness out of all the other attributes available? Because kindness is the secret to happiness and has the power to improve heart health.
Giving and receiving kindness has significant physical effects on the body. It is a demonstration of the mind body connection. When our mind is focussed on kindness, physical changes occur in the body. Hormones are released which cause feelings of love, happiness and well being in the same way as stressful experiences release hormones which manifest as bodily discomforts.
The hormones released by kindness are:
Oxytocin (love hormone) - plays a role in forming social bonds, building better selves and better communities
Dopamine (pleasure hormone)- a neurotransmitter that gives you the feeling of good and satisfaction or otherwise known as the helper high
Serotonin (happy hormone)- a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood
The hormones released by stress are:
Adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) - released by the adrenal glands in response to perceived threat to allow the body to escape
Cortisol (the stress hormone) - released to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure, chronic elevated levels caused by stewing on problems suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and sugar
Norepinephrine (arousal hormone) - works with adrenaline to heighten the senses, blood is moved from less crucial areas like the skin to more crucial areas like the muscles to flee
Kindness is physiologically opposite to stress. For this reason, the medical profession is beginning to recognise kindness as the antidote to stress and therefore an important cardio protective phenomena. Not only are we genetically wired to be kind and to show compassionate behaviour, studies have proved that kindness causes chemical changes in the brain and makes us happier.
A study with two groups of people measured the happiness of a group carrying out small acts of kindness one day a week against a group who did not. It was concluded that the group performing regular acts of kindness were happier. You can boost your happiness with our Great Kindness Challenge
Another study looked at the chemical changes which occurred in the brains of monks who regularly practised loving kindness meditation. You can practice a loving kindness meditation here.
Children are great imitators and are constantly watching those around them, "children are always watching and adults are always teaching". If we have traits of kindness to self and others with practice and repetition our children will follow. What a wonderful trait to pass on to our children to help to keep their hearts and minds happy and healthy too.