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Kindness, Health & Happiness

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Where are you in your life experience right now, today, in this precise moment? Are you living life from a place of Joy and Freedom or is it closer to Sorrow and Struggle? We know that it is the choices we make that create our lives and when our environment shows evidence of things we don’t like, we have the power to create something different with new choices. Sometimes, however; there are things in our world over which we have no control in the moment. This is when it’s most important for us to claim the control we do have over our thoughts and actions.

I was reminded over the past few weeks about the power of Kindness and its impact on our health. Wayne Dyer was the first person to introduce me to the idea that simple acts of kindness can raise immunity in our bodies. Listening to his presentation anew motivated me to do some online research. I found several articles about the studies he mentioned. It is indeed scientific fact that when a person performs an act of kindness for another that not only the recipient’s immune system is bolstered, but also the immune system of the person doing the kindness. In addition to the health benefit, there is an increase in the serotonin levels of both people. Serotonin, if you’re unfamiliar, is a neurotransmitter, derived from tryptophan, that impacts sleep, memory and depression. Correct levels of serotonin cause us to feel happy.

The research also shows that it is not only the recipient and the performer directly involved in the act of kindness, but also anyone who observes the act. Translated, this means that when I smile at a young mother while holding the door open for her and the stroller she’s pushing, both of us, the child in the stroller and the three people standing around us receive a boost in our levels of serotonin and our individual immune systems are strengthened.

Working from home, as I do, means that there are days where I receive little to no interaction with others. This doesn’t bother me, but I’ve noticed that when I go out to run errands, I often catch myself feeling immensely satisfied with life. I had attributed this to more sunshine and just being around people in general, but I now realize that it’s because my interactions always include smiles, holding doors open, asking clerks how their day is and responding with authentic interest. These are small acts of kindness which are literally making me and all those who receive and/or witness them happier and healthier.

Now think about social media and its ability to take information to every corner of the world. When we share stories on our Facebook news feeds or other accounts, they have the potential to go viral. Remember the story about Schoep & John? A picture of John holding his dog in the river to ease his pain from arthritis went viral back in 2015. How many people across the world were impacted by this story as well as other stories like it? We can literally help our fellow human beings feel better in their bodies and minds by spreading news about acts of Kindness. That's powerful!
So, to come full circle, I’d like to say that I know not every day will be full of sunshine and bliss. We all have sorrows, we all have bills to pay and let’s face it, there are some troublesome things happening in the world. Medical science has known for a long time that worry and sorrow wear on the human body as well as the mind and spirit. My suggestion is that in those times where it seems the battle is being lost, remember the power of Kindness to raise not only your mood, but your overall well-being and know in your heart that you can create the opportunity for happiness and health through your own acts of Kindness as well as those of others. Practice Kindness - pay attention to how you feel. You may just find yourself captured by Joy. When you do, dwell in that moment and live in Freedom.

Blessings & Light,

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
~ Dalai Lama

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