There has been an outpouring of kindness over the last few months which has been humbling to see. It was growing in popularity before Covid-19 arrived on our doorsteps, prompted by the tragic death of Caroline Flack. We even had #BeKind.
As we were asked to lockdown there has been a further awakening of consciousness and recognition of the importance of living in the moment and appreciating what we have rather than lamenting what has been or fearing what is to come. As individuals, many of us have been changed forever by what is happening around us and in the wider world. Our awareness and consciousness have shifted but will we choose to hold onto the positivity that we have experienced through being kind?
As an optimist I am hopeful that as our awareness has now shifted, we will continue to choose kindness and compassion and that it does not become something we virtue signal about but rather something we just get on and do. That before we start to blame someone or criticise a decision or refuse to accept what has already happened opening up old wounds we stop, take a breath and remember how good it feels, despite the horror that surrounds us, to look at what we have, treasure it, be glad of it and hope that those around us are making choices and decisions with the best of intentions.
Kindness is contagious, a much better contagion to focus on than Covid-19 and one that we do not require a vaccine for. It costs nothing but the benefits it provides are beneficial to us all. We deliver an act of kindness and we feel better, the recipient feels better and anyone who witnessed it feels better, increasing the likelihood that we will all take part in another act of kindness and so it continues.
If we practice kindness, we get better at it and the benefits we experience increase, just like going to the gym to build muscle, so we can build our muscles of compassion making us even more likely to practice acts of kindness and compassion.
There is a growing amount of scientific evidence around that demonstrates that when we participate in an act of kindness changes occur in our bodies. We can see centres of pleasure in the brain light up, feel good hormone levels increase and as a result our blood pressure levels improve. Feelings of pain, anxiety, depression and stress have been seen to decrease. Dr David Hamilton provides a huge amount of information and evidence on all of this, far more eloquently than I can share with you and is well worth a read.
It is up to us to keep kindness going. It does not require us to change our political or religious beliefs, an act of kindness is no more or less effective based on our gender or race. I am taking kindness with me and will do my best to continue to resist judging or displaying anger when differences raise fear in me. I will strive to hold a space for all with kindness and curiosity rather than fear and criticism.
If we all choose kindness then it will stay with us beyond Covid-19 and it is now a conscious choice because we have experienced awareness, we know and therefore we cannot unknow but we can make a choice.