While kindness is a term most of us have heard and used before, we rarely connect the benefits of being kind to improving our mental health and wellness. Many studies have shown that kindness has been linked to increased well-being and has positive effects on happiness. Although kindness is most commonly thought of as acts of service done for others, we can also show kindness to ourselves!
Be Kind To Yourself First
In order to show kindness towards others we must show kindness to ourselves. It is easy to overlook being kind to ourselves and we can fall into a cycle of a negative internal dialogue that is manifested into negative attitudes and behaviors. If we would not say the negative things we think about ourselves to other people, we should reconsider how we talk and think about ourselves. While it might be easier to show kindness towards others, we need to dedicate time and energy to befriend ourselves.
The 3 Pillars of Kindness
The key to showing ourselves more kindness is self-compassion. Self-compassion is founded on three pillars: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
Here is a quick reminder of what these terms mean:
- Self-kindness: Treating yourself with the kindness and understanding you would show to someone you love
- Common humanity: Recognizing that you are not alone in your pain and that suffering is a shared human experience
- Mindfulness: Holding your negative experiences as they are—without suppressing them or over-identifying with them
Kindness Practices for Daily Life
By applying these three practices to our daily lives, self-compassion will come naturally and in turn, we can begin to be kinder to ourselves. Here are some ways you can practice self-kindness.
- Practice mindfulness. Whether this be meditating for a few minutes, exercising, or spending time in nature, mindfulness can help us with acceptance, patience, and understanding.
- Write a letter, diary entry, or poem to yourself. Being able to express yourself through writing can help you understand your thoughts and feelings better. This can be done by setting a timer and writing anything and everything you can think of or compose a letter or poem.
- Show your body love. This can be done by eating a meal, taking a shower, moving your body through exercise, or resting. We can’t forget that our physical health needs to be looked after just as much as our mental health.
If you are struggling with self-kindness or treating others with kindness, we are here to support you with the resources we offer. A Brighter Day has partnered with BetterHelp to provide access to free mental health treatment as well as Crisis Text Line to provide immediate mental health crisis support. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to complementary resources.
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