There’s good scientific evidence that living up to the adage of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood and acts as a natural anti-depressant by boosting the serotonin levels in your brain.
So what can you do to stay in the right frame of mind to be kind, particularly because being kind isn’t always easy?
Some days, you want to grit your teeth and just grouse at the world. And there are some people it’s tough to be kind to. How can you change your approach to life to be as kind as you can?
Here are three truths to remember when you’re tempted to be unkind:
Know what you can control and what you can’t
It’s a fact that other people can be rude, thoughtless, irritating and even mean. They have opinions you don’t agree with. You can’t change or control any of that.
But you can control how you react. Kindness is always the best option for you and the other guy. Take a deep breath, count to 10, and bite back that retort or putdown.
Practise being kind and soon it will be second nature.
Anger doesn’t help
Reacting with anger doesn’t do anything to resolve a bad situation. Anger makes you feel terrible. It’s likely to escalate things and won’t get you the result you want.
Even worse, anger can lead to all sorts of physical problems, from headaches to high blood pressure, sleep problems and digestive issues. A lifetime habit of anger can even lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
Recognize the potential to get angry and take a step back.
Kindness is always the right option
Whatever the situation, you will never go wrong if you’re kind. Kindness also makes you an inspiring leader, a role model for others.
Choosing to be kind in the face of frustration, even provocation, shows that conflict is not inevitable.
Giving in to childish feelings of needing to be right or get what you want all the time is easy. But it breeds discontent and won’t win you any friends.
Kindness breeds a more detached attitude to life, it encourages positive emotions and will help to make you and the people around you calmer, happier and more energized.
Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. For interview requests, click here.