Kindness Matters: Pass it On

Today is International Kindness Day.  In a day and age where civility seems to have gone by the wayside, what can we do to create more kindness? Do you know that there’s a direct correlation between showing kindness and receiving kindness? The two acts feed off one another and lead to a perpetual cycle of giving. Your kindness does matter as it ripples out into the world.

Scientists have also discovered a certain hormone called oxytocin which increases when we are empathic or generous. When the level of oxytocin increases, the circuit in the brain that controls fear, anxiety and rage shuts down. That is why practicing kindness leads to greater empathy and morality. It is also difficult to hold a grudge.

It is important to teach children about kindness—what it is, how to identify it, and how to practice it. We develop empathy following rules for expected behavior in the classroom, preventing bullying and developing compassion. Children learn by playing. When children are role-playing, they are also learning about perspectives and skills to stand in another’s shoes. We learn about our differences and similarities.

If we have not learned basic kindness skills by the time we are around 8 years old, it is very difficult to teach. This lack of empathy leads to anti-social behavior.

Without empathy, we have no chance at civility. We need that connection to feel human. We also need to be connected to a purpose greater than our own. Our inner power helps to create the best mindset through meditation and connecting to our heart.

Model civility, practice kindness every day, whether opening a car door, helping a lost puppy find its home, or helping a senior citizen cross the road safely. The very act of kindness creates more kindness, more empathy, and self-respect, and more “feel-good” hormones.

Engaging in kindness and compassion is what makes for a grateful society. And who doesn’t need a little more gratitude in our world? Here’s a way to begin your day in kindness and gratitude with this morning six-minute meditation. Click here to download for FREE this meditation and join my Inner Power Circle!

As Comedian and Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres always says, “Be kind to one another!”

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about helping children and parents feel less stressed, more calm, and happier  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram or email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.

Practice Attitude of Gratitude

As the saying goes “practice makes perfect.”  Having an attitude of gratitude remains one of the best ways to boost health and happiness. This notion of gratitude is something we need to nourish to feel the benefits.  According to Dr. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!, he cites recent studies on how a gratitude practice has a physical effect on the body:

  • A gratitude practice reduces perceived stress by 28% and depression by 16%
  • Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  • Writing a letter of gratitude reduces feelings of hopelessness by 88% of suicidal inpatients and increases levels of optimism in 94% of them
  • Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain.

An increase in well-being happens as you make a regular practice of gratitude.  Simply believing you are grateful for all of your blessings does not bring more happiness.  The beautiful thing about  practicing gratitude, it’s a reminder of what’s going right in your life.  When you focus more on what’s going well, you will notice and attract more good in your life.   As bestselling Author Deepak Chopra says, “Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.”  — Deepak Chopra

Try one of these three ways to practice gratitude.

Gratitude Meditation –Settle into a quiet place and get comfortable and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and begin to release any tension in your body.  Now place your attention on your heart. Breathe in and out a golden light in your heart. Be thankful for your heart center.  Keep breathing in love and breathing out gratitude. Feel your heart expand to someone you love or loves you unconditionally.  Stay here for a few moments. Now feel in your heart some of the things you are grateful for:  like the abundance of nature, the beauty of life, so many blessings. Just breathe in love and breathe out gratitude. While in this stillness, spread gratitude to your loved ones… then expand out into the community.  Continue to sit in stillness for a little while, saying “thank you.” After several minutes gently bring your body back to the room where you began.  Remember to carry this gratitude for yourself and to all you meet throughout your day.

Gratitude Journal –I remember how Oprah Winfrey had shared this practice on her popular TV show and how this one thing shifted how she viewed herself and the world.  Keep a special journal of gratitude.  Write down three things you are grateful for every day.  You may include a loved one, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, appreciation for material possessions, opportunities that came to you, gratitude for yourself and others. Include things that may have touched your soul or made you smile and appreciate.  Some believe you should write down new things each day, but others say that’s not necessary to reap benefits.

Gratitude Jar– Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love has written about her personal practice of gratitude. For years she has kept a jar where she would jot down on scraps of paper things that made her happy that day and put them in a jar. This could be a fun practice that you could do with your children for feeling happier.  Another bonus is that the jar can serve as inspiration when you want to feel more alive and connected.

Please try these and let me know how it goes or share what ways you have found to practice gratitude.   I am so grateful to you who continue to read my blog posts!  In fact, as my thank you click here to join my Inner Power Circle and receive a FREE Guided Meditation.

Wishing you peace,

Vicki

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to parents and children.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.