Random Acts of Kindness week starts 18th February
Why so much negativity? psychologist Rick Hanson notes – evolution has primed our brains and specifically our amygdala (the two almond shaped clusters of nuclei that process emotional responses), to have a negative bias. At one time this was necessary for survival but now acts as our alarm centre, with strong connections to our emotions and memories most notably fear. The Amygdala uses about 2/3 of its neurons to watch for negative experiences, once found they are quickly stored. Positive emotions and memories are much slower to store, often have less body sensations and need more repetition to stick.
In a world primed for negativity, cultivating kind thoughts is essential and would suggest then we should use making a random act of kindness as a start to a lifelong practice. Perhaps starting with a pact to undertake a month of kindness, after all it only takes 21 days to form a habit.
5 reasons why should we practice kindness
It's good for our heart - When we practice kindness and compassion our brain releases oxytocin (love hormone) this then releases a chemical called nitric acid, which lowers our blood pressure and improves our heart health.
It has a positive affect on the vagus nerve - The vagus nerve has an important role in communicating between the brain and our organs. When the nerve is responsive it reduces inflammation, heart disease, boosts the immune system and helps with emotional regualtion.
It increase our feelings of being loved and connected - Kindness makes us more connected and more loved thanks to oxytocin and leads to conversation and positive interactions,
It helps with depression.... - Kindness has an incredible effect on our mental health, being kind promotes gratitude and positivity which is incredibly helpful for those who are suffering depression.kindness releases serotonin the happy hormone works in the same way as an anti-depressant to help improve your mood.
....and anxiety - Being kind can help those with anxiety, a study revealed that those who performed 6 acts of kindness a week found a significant improvement in mood, relationships and social avoidance
What Yoga says about kindness
We are encouraged and reminded in the Yoga Sutras of five Yamas. These are important ethical restraints and five Niyamas, which are additional disciplines. One of the Yamas is Ahimsa which means non–harming/violent it reminds us to be kind and gentle, ever aware of our actions and how they can hurt others physically and emotionally.
But you must also practice ahimsa towards yourself. Be best friends with your body, the more you can do this for yourself the more you can treat others with the same care.
Another yama is satya meaning truthfulness, be honest in what we say, do and how we think. Keeping our word and speaking truth in not a critical way, being conscious of our language through self-awareness.
As educators this is very important when talking to children, speak with kindness, compassion and a generous spirit
Ten ways to make 2019 a little kinder
Make a connection calendar to stay in touch with friends and family
Get some beautiful stationery to write thank you notes
Set a reminder on your phone to smile at a stranger everyday
Get to know a member of staff you know little about
Set up check in times with friends or colleagues who are going through a difficult time
When you’ve enjoyed doing an activity let the creator know
Thank at least one person a week for something
Keep track of your acts of kindness throughout the year so you can reflect on them
Pay someone a compliment everyday
Let someone out in busy traffic
Ten ways to start being kind to yourself
Take time to do something you like doing
Take some time for self-care and pampering
Make a list of your good qualities
Taking time out of your busy schedule to do nothing
Take brain breaks
Buy yourself flowers
Treat yourself like you were buying a gift for someone else
Don't skip breaks at work
Look in the mirror and say 'I love you'
Start with small steps, add it to your new year’s list to be kinder, practicing kindness is like building a muscle the more you do it the easier it gets.
Let’s make 2019 a better world to live in by changing it one kind act at a time.
Spread the Yoginis yoga promise download and print display somewhere as a reminder.