Photo courtesy Footprints orphanage
I am a strong believer that empathy and kindness go a long way. Even small acts of kindness can have a ripple effect that will transform people’s life. It was certainly my experience in life when I was being helped unexpectedly. Oftentimes strangers chose to open their hearts to respond to my needs.
This certainly made me decide to live by “paying it forward”, spreading kindness, when possible.
Kindness is necessary for us to make strong bonds within a family, community or a workplace. Kindness is a sheer act of giving without any expectation or judgement. Be it a cup of tea, your attention to other person’s needs or helping your old neighbor with household.
Of course there should be a balance between meeting our individual needs and the needs of others. However, many times, the acts of kindness can be boiled down to a loving attention given to another person/animal/ in a particular moment. Even a smile, a small talk, a truthful compliment can make a difference.
Kindness is contagious. It inspires us to act kindly to others. It spreads easily because we make others feel good and, as a side effect, we simply feel good.
Kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people and so we feel more ‘bonded’.
Kindness is good for the body and mental health
Allan Luks has long been an advocate of kindness, helping others and volunteering. From his website, we read:
People have known for ages that helping others is good for the soul. But the study that Allan Luks conducted of over 3000 male and female volunteers has proven it is good for the body and mental health too. His research concluded that regular helpers are 10 times more likely to be in good health than people who don’t volunteer. And that there’s an actual biochemical explanation: volunteering reduces the body’s stress and also releases endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers.
His book: “The Healing Power of Doing Good” explains the relationship between good health and volunteering, and the factors that make it possible to allow individuals to maintain their independence as they grow older and face both physical and mental health challenges.
When we study his book, or the book of David Hamilton, “Why kindness is good for you“, we can conclude that kindness (helping others) contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders both serious and minor.
From another point of view, the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) teaches that organs have functions beyond the understanding of western medicine. Different emotions affect different organs. Anger and kindness effect the functions connected to the liver. The main task of the liver is to support the even flow of nourishing blood throughout the body. When the flow is smooth we are relaxed. But … when we are angry the flow is constricted. Since liver (through blood) is also connected to eyes, nerves and ligaments, as a result of tension and the blood restriction/stagnation, various health problems can occur. There may be tension, bloating, mood swings, eye problems, muscle spasms, dizziness, migraines etc. So, both kindness and a healthy way to express anger, come hand in hand with a happy liver.
Liver is perceived as an inner harmonizer. A well functioning liver supports the heart (according to TCM), and this may explain why kindness gives us healthier hearts. See also the book of David Hamilton.
Why kindness is good for you?
Because it is an act of deep connection to another person. It is ultimately human, a recognition of her as your fellow traveler in life.
By helping her, you help yourself.
By giving freely, you free yourself.
You become a seed of gentle expansion of happiness.
Are you ready for an act of kindness?
If so, Kerrie Watson needs one. She is an English lady, I have just met, with a mission far bigger than herself.
Some years ago she worked as a volunteer in Kenya. She was so touched by poverty and limitations of the orphans there that she decided to make a difference. She started an orphanage in 2010. She did it alone. By her own money, persistence and against all odds. She is now a “mum” to 24 kids, aged 0 to 18 who would have been abandoned, otherwise. Three years ago she started a school, which has now 140 pupils.
What a task! She feeds all the kids. Many of them from outside sleep at school on mattresses during a week. She runs it with the support of locals: Kenyan teachers, cooks and so on.
Life is really basic there.
If you want a piece of furniture, such as a bench or a bed, you have to make it yourself.
The majority of your time is spent of fetching water, cooking and washing. You have to walk 2.5 miles to fetch water from a river. There is a well, but the water is not always there, and even though they collect rain water, it’s gone in the dry season. Yet, kids’ clothes and bedding have to be washed by hand, rubbing in a basket of water. Not even mentioning the amount of water you need to cook meals for all pupils and adults.
Some kids are HIV positive and their illness is manageable when they are provided with daily medication. It costs 100 pounds a month/child.
They lead a simple life, yet the changes Kerrie makes to these children are profound. They have a lifetime chance to grow in love and learn to spread kindness.
Kerrie runs this thanks to the financial support she gets from people. She has a well-founded charity and her family members in the UK support her behind the scenes. They take care of formal issues, the running of charity, accounting, Facebook presence, website etc. But money is short. She is a no-nonsense lady, very practical and highly optimizing her spending. Everything goes directly towards food and the running costs.
Just have a look at these lovely kids, and please support this mission of the Heart. Even 3 or 5 pounds will make a huge difference.
Make a Donation or spread the word. Allow yourself for a small act of kindness.
Many thanks 🙂