If there is one thing that should be put on prescription globally to support the mental health of individuals, it should be kindness.
On October 10th, many talked openly about mental health in general and shared personal stories of their battles with their own mental health. Posts were shared to signpost people to sources that could help them get through tough times and tips were given to help people cope when they feel they cannot.
Support groups reached out to those who felt unsupported and celebrities did all they could to give the message of solidarity in the epidemic of common mental illness such as depression and anxiety that is so widespread. All of these were fantastic ways of raising awareness and showing people that they are not alone in tough times but isn’t prevention better than cure?
Having worked in mental health over the last 26 years in varying roles, there are not many mental health issues that I have not dealt with. Treatments and support may vary between each individual but one commonality seeps from each individual and that is a block in the kindness that they experience in life. Kindness has the power to change lives in miraculous ways and is easier to implement than you think.
Kindness is an energy that is available to everyone but only chosen by some. Kindness gives as good as it gets and is a constant flow of energy from person to person unless it is blocked. Kindness has no favourites and always welcomes newcomers. Kindness will do more to boost your health in mysterious ways than fear ever will. kindness expands our world to open us up to experiences that we never would experience without it and takes us to places that we never knew existed.
We are biologically wired to be kind to ourselves and others when we are born but can sometimes loose this as we grow due to outside influences. Kindness has a positive impact on relationships with loved ones and strangers alike and has a positive feedback on how we see ourselves in the world. By doing good to others you release a nice cocktail of serotonin (aids feelings of well-being) and endorphins (helpers high). Oxytocin is released during experiences of kindness and can lower blood pressure which is such a natural way to deal with medical issues. Kindness towards yourself and others also strengthen your vagus nerve (part of the autonomic nervous system) which gives us even more reason to be as kind as we can. A prescription of kindness therefore, can be just what the doctor ordered.
From anxiety to depression and stress to finding a sense of purpose in life, kindness is one of the most influential changes we can implement in our life to boost our mental health naturally. Being kind to ourselves is the first step in allowing kindness to shape a different life that we create for ourselves. We must be full enough of kindness in ourselves to be able to give it out to the world. Keeping kindness just for ourselves can isolate us from others so when you feel it is time, share the magic of kindness with those around you, Learning to love ourselves though kindness will help us to connect to others and love them just as they are to help us live a more harmonious life.
However you spent World Mental Health day I hope it was filled with kindness in your own life and the lives of those around you. Stepping outside our own problems and using kindness to connect to the world around us helps us rethink our own lives and how we can improve them.
If you want to read more about how kindness can improve your life read The Five Side Effects of Kindness by the amazing Dr David R Hamilton.