Today, 13 of November, is the International Day of Kindness and a perfect opportunity to reflect on what we mean when we talk about being kind. This small but simple word carries significant weight in our lives. And that includes at work.
Living in a world full of hostility and lack of compassion, being kind is often mistaken as weakness. In the business world many people believe leadership is all about being hard, tough, bold and being kind doesn’t come into the equation. From my own personal experience, being kind is the key that opens the door to long-lasting relationships and improves my own wellbeing.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate”. Interestingly, the ‘and’ indicates that all three of those conditions are required for kindness to be present. For example, one person can be friendly or generous but not kind. It is when all 3 conditions are present that we feel the real pleasure of kindness.
Kindness has the power to affect not only the recipient and the giver but also those who happened to witness the act of kindness. In other words, being kind has the power to boost the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone involved, including observers
Research by the Mental Health Foundation has shown that being kind has more benefits than we might imagine. For example, a simple act of kindness can have a similar impact to that of an antidepressant as it stimulates the production of serotonin. Serotonin heals your wounds, calms you down and makes you happy 😊. It helps us produce more endorphins, which is the brain’s natural painkiller and is 3 times more effective than morphine. Being kind also produces oxytocin, which promotes social bonding and generates an immediate calming effect, increases trust, and generosity, strengthens the immune system and boosts virility. Kind people have twice as much Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which slows aging and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) by as much as 23%.
The great thing is that being kind isn’t difficult. Here are some easy and effective ways to install kindness in your workplace:
- Help co-workers to finish a task even if is not part of your job.
- Recognize their strengths and don’t judge their weaknesses.
- Have meaningful conversations.
- Listen with curiosity, ask questions, and genuinely show interest in their well-being.
- Be considerate for their feelings before giving an opinion.
- Pay attention to your words and tone of voice when communicating.
With so many obvious benefits we can only conclude that being kind is a healthy act and is definitely a good thing to practice.
Let’s make this International Day of Kindness our everyday attitude. Let’s be more active in our efforts to spread kindness and happiness, at home and at work.