Sunday, 3rd December 2023

Spread kindness like confetti

By Sinem Bilen Onabanjo
30 May 2020   |   3:30 am
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK giving the nation an opportunity to focus on mental health and wellbeing. This year’s theme is kindness

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK giving the nation an opportunity to focus on mental health and wellbeing. This year’s theme is kindness, with the focus on kindness is a response to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having a big impact on people’s mental health.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.”

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve seen many acts of kindness globally-from food banks rushing to the aid of those in isolation or in need, to communities pulling together to help the most vulnerable.

However, a cursory look at social media shows that there are many who still haven’t had their share of the “milk of human kindness.” From debates that escalate into full-blown arguments on Covid-19 conspiracy theories to trolling rampant on social platforms from its long-established home Twitter, all the way through to the professional networking site LinkedIn.

Then there are the daily clashes of course when people are anxious about the invisible enemy that is smaller than the head of a pin and nerves ae frayed, so little misunderstanding quickly blow into arguments.

More divided than ever, with Brexit looming large and with over 35,000 lost to the coronavirus, the United Kingdom definitely needs plenty of kindness and goodwill. Globally as well though we can all benefit from practising more kindness during these turbulent times and beyond.

If you needed a bit of convincing why kindness is good for everyone all around, there are major benefits to spreading kindness like confetti.

It is good for your heart
When you commit a random act of kindness, your body produces a hormone called oxytocin, also known as “kindness hormone” and the “cardioprotective hormone.” Oxytocin helps the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which opens up the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, keeping your ticker in good health.

It slows down ageing
This is all down to the handy work of the good old oxytocin again! One of the factors behind ageing is oxidative stress, which is an imbalance in your body. Research has shown that when oxytocin is introduced to skill cells, the levels of oxidative stress reduce significantly.

It reduces pain
As well as oxytocin, when you perform kind acts, your body also produces endorphins, which are the brain’s natural painkillers. The result? They help reduce pain and stress.

It makes you feel good
Serotonin is yet another hormone your body produces when you’re being kind. Often called the “happy hormone” it helps calm the mind and improve the mood. High levels of serotonin, research has found, also help relieve stress and anxiety. No wonder being kind lifts up the spirit!

It builds up your immune system
Whether it is the dreaded Covid-19 or the flu you want to avoid, being kind is a good way to keep illness at bay-along with practising good hygiene of course. Studies have shown emotional wellbeing can directly support your immune system and physical wellbeing.

No time like now than to spread a little kindness when you can.

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