#3 Be Kind
Yes, being kind actually helps you fight anxiety. Medical studies have shown that when we are kind, our body chemistry is altered and our mood improves. Our blood pressure lowers. We feel better about ourselves and the world around us. Being kind has been shown to boost serotonin, a natural antidepressant in your brain. Another interesting thing from these studies: serotonin is also increased in the person receiving the act of kindness and in some cases in those who witness it. (Talk about ripple effect.) It doesn’t stop there. Acts of kindness can also boost oxytocin, known as the love hormone. It is the hormone released when we make physical contact, but it is also linked to maternal feelings. (yes, the drug name of this hormone is Pitocin… the drug given to women in labor to help speed things along. ) The natural hormone, oxytocin makes us feel better about ourselves and want to help others. Medical studies have found that when oxytocin is released in our bodies we are more trusting, more generous and friendlier. So far when we are kind we have the release or boost of serotonin, oxytocin and there is still one more. Dr. Waquih William IsHak, professor of psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles says that “helping others is also believed to increase levels of and the endorphin-like chemical in the body called substance P, which relieves pain.” IsHak says that the effects of kindness are proven scientifically. “We all seek a path to happiness, practicing kindness toward others is one we know works. “ I remind you that I learned about these 6 steps from a presentation by Counselor and Therapist Matthew Swartz. These are steps used in the treatment of anxiety.
Oh and one more thing… it’s Biblical. Jesus tells us that the two most important commandments are to love God and love one another. The apostle Paul goes straight for kindness in Ephesians 4:32. “and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
On our Lenten journey to live UnAfraid, we know that part of that is getting anxiety and stress under control.
Step one: Wake up and list at least 5 things for which you are grateful. Give your first thoughts to God and be grateful.
Step two: Be still. Find 5-10 minutes every day to be still and quiet your mind.
Step three: Be kind. Be intentional about kindness to those around you.
Step four… well that’s tomorrow
Grace and Peace,
P.S. I’d love to hear about some of your acts of kindness…