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Tips for Practicing Kindness
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, January 2014

As we begin a new year and think about our goals and resolutions, let's give thought to how we want to start 2014. During the holiday season we see and hear about acts of kindness and generosity. Why not keep these actions continuing through the year as confirmation of "who we are?" Acts of kindness interspersed throughout our day will not only change the way we view the world, but also change the world.

Consider the following:

Helper's High. - We can experience a euphoric feeling followed by a longer feeling of calm after performing a kind act because endorphins are released by our brain. This in turn, positively affects the heart and immune system, alters the neural structure of our brain, may serve as an antidote for depression, and can increase our sense of happiness.

Changing World View. - We look at the world differently when we help others. We train our brain to be alert to being kind, and we see opportunities to be helpful. When we look someone in the eye, smile, spend time, and interact, we feel connected to something larger than ourselves. We are able to see the possible, instead of the impossible.

Share Your Passion. - Do what you enjoy and love with or for another person-- even if it is your profession! Becker Chicaiza is an accomplished hair stylist who owns a successful salon in Greenwich, CT. He donates his (and his staff's) time and talent to give haircuts to children who are in crisis. Additionally, he designated an entire day of cutting, styling, and coloring his customers' hair so he could donate 100% of the earnings to an organization that is close to his heart: Kids in Crisis. (More about his charitable philosophy in my next newsletter).

Kindness is Contagious. - If we receive an act of kindness, we are more likely to want to pay it forward. A single act can influence multiple acts.

Remember this: doing good has a healing power. Even when you watch or hear about other people doing kind things you can be inspired to do acts of kindness. Goodness spurs goodness.

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