Kindness has the power to calm our mind and ease our hearts especially at this most challenging time in the world.
Being kind to ourselves is important. Having spent weeks in lockdown we may feel frustrated, angry and fearful. All these negative emotions chip away at our mental health and have a negative effect on our physical wellbeing. They can drain our energy, lowering our immunity and affect our behaviour towards exercise, food and alcohol.
When we become unkind to ourselves, we may be critical of what we are thinking, what we are doing or not doing at home, how we look and how we are around our immediate family. We may feel guilty for the way we react under pressure.
Taking the time to be kind to ourselves to remember we are all human is important. When we say a few kind words to ourselves each day this can help shift from a negative to a more positive mood. It can boost our self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence; and directly affect how we behave in our day. We may feel more motivated to exercise, eat healthily and less likely to react to others. When we judge ourselves less and add a touch of kindness our view of the day can change.
Affirmations are a sentence that you can create to help reduce internal negative, critical talk. They are based on the present tense and help you to be mindful. They should contain a positive statement and be relevant and meaningful to you. For example –
‘I am feeling happy today because ...’
‘I am grateful today for …’
‘I enjoy each day because …’
Repeating a positive affirmation though the day helps reduce negative internal dialogue. It has a powerful effect on the brain opening the door to a new way of thinking, communicating and viewing the world and helping reduce anxiety and low mood. Try it today and every day – it only takes a few seconds to help change the way you feel and think!
Increase your kindness and compassion
When we start to be kinder and less judgemental to ourselves, we may also notice our kindness and compassion increases to others. There are many mindfulness meditation exercises based on loving kindness meditation. If we wish everyone we meet love, happiness and good health each day we reduce our negative thoughts. Judgement, bitterness, anger and irritation are all emotions that cause us to feel stressed, anxious and unhappy.
Take a few minutes each day to pause, notice your breathing, sit calmly and bring our attention to wishing wellness to the ones we love and the people in our community. It helps build compassion in us all. We cannot change the world instantly. But if we choose to, we can increase our levels of compassion and kindness in times of need.
Encouraging positive actions each day such as feeling kindness, compassion and taking time to be mindful, helps our bodies lower our internal stress response (fight or flight). Positive emotions towards ourselves and others have a calming effect on both our mind and body. This helps to lower our heart rate, blood pressure and reduce stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. It also helps our body release immune boosting hormones, DHEA.
When we practice feelings of calm, love and compassion our mental wellbeing and our physical wellbeing improves immensely. Why not give it a go?
Our guest blogger this week is Sharon Elizabeth Best, a Senior Health & Wellbeing Physiologist with over 20 years’ experience in health & wellness. Sharon writes regular articles on mindfulness meditation, nutrition and exercise on her blog: www.5minutes2wellness.com