Kindness is rewarding. In your brain.
What have you done lately in a self-less act of kindness? This morning as I was picking up eggs, milk and Diet Coke at the convenience store: I ran out of cash. (It happens. I don't use credit cards, and that was that.) I needed less than a dollar -- and the man behind me simply PAID for it. No questions. Just did. This type of action -- regardless of how small or insignificant -- FEELS GOOD. I thanked him, and I would have done the same.
Think of those layaways being paid off all around the US from big box retailers. How does that make you feel? Good, right? Imagine how it would feel if it were YOU that came to pick up your children's holiday gifts to find that they had been paid in full? I'd bet you'd be thankful, maybe even teary. You might be inspired to pay it forward next time.
The little things matter. They really, really do.
Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Being kind to others is as rewarding as eating chocolate and having sex, according to scientists.
A recent study by the University of California found that performing a selfless act of kindness triggers the release of the same feelgood chemical in the brain, dopamine, as when we give ourselves a treat.
"The ventral striatum is typically active in response to simple rewards, such as chocolate, sex and money," says researcher Naomi Eisenberger.
"It now seems likely that some of the health benefits of social support actually come from the support we provide to others."
But with all the daily pressures of work, relationships, finances and health worries, living a kind-hearted existence can be challenging.
Michael J Chase, author of Am I Being Kind, believes in the Dailai Lama philosophy that, "world peace must develop out of inner peace" and says that being compassionate isn't as hard as you think as you just need to identify the 'keys' to kindness.
Being Aware - become mindful of your thoughts, words and actions
Asking - ask yourself each day 'Am I Being Kind?'
Performing - perform spontaneous acts of kindness
To encompass the simple acts of kindness, you need to turn your 'to-do' attitude into 'to-be' by adopting the following kindness principles:
Kindness towards yourself
Self-kindness means nourishing your life with healthy food, exercise, laughter, a career you love and personal and spiritual growth. It also means making room in your schedule for activities that inspire you, spending some time alone in silence, and always choosing kind thoughts about yourself
Kindness towards others
You'll encounter dozens of opportunities each day to be kind to others. Practice kindness toward your family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. Speak kind words about people, be a good listener, smile often and give sincere apologies.
Kindness towards the earth
Make time each day to be kind to the earth. This practice starts with simple things that you may already be doing. Ride your bike or walk rather than drive, recycle, pick up the trash, purchase environmentally friendly products and be compassionate towards animals and all living things.
"To be attentive and notice when someone could use a helping hand or kind word takes us back to the first key to kindness: being aware. If we are to make a difference in the lives of others, we must become conscious and open our spiritual eyes. Having an attentive heart can be as simple as noticing a pedestrian trying to cross the street or seeing a neighbor struggling with groceries. Using our radar and continually scanning for those who require our assistance gives us countless opportunities to be kind.
"However, with so much need in the world, it's necessary to create boundaries and know our limits - it's unrealistic to think that we can help every single person on our path. But if we can heighten our instinctive heart-sense a little more each day, not only will we become more aware of what we can do for others, we'll also experience one of life's greatest gifts: the joy of service.
"Take a few moments today and intentionally look for occasions to be kind. You can do so at work, in traffic, or when you're walking down the street. As the Dalai Lama once said, 'Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.' The chances are endless.