Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Kindness Matters: Be kind to yourself as well to others

Dr OP Singh, Prof of Psychiatry WBMES and Consultant Psychiatrist AMRI group of Hospitals Kolkata, Editor in Chief Indian Journal of Psychiatry

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Published: Oct 19, 2020 12:58:41 PM IST
Updated: Oct 19, 2020 06:29:49 PM IST

Kindness Matters: Be kind to yourself as well to others
Kindness can take many forms – anything from a smile from a stranger to a friend helping you out in a crisis. We all know how nice it is to be on the receiving end of kindness, but did you know that being kind to others has been scientifically proven to improve your mental health and sense of wellbeing? For example, being kind not only reduces stress, it can also improve mood, self-esteem and happiness. An act of kindness doesn’t have to be huge, a small one can make a big difference. An act of kindness doesn’t have to cost money or a lot of time it could be phoning or video calling someone who is on their own or asking a neighbor if they need help with their shopping.

Kindness, or doing good, often means putting other people’s needs before our own. It could be by giving up our seat on a bus to someone who might need it more, or offering to make a cup of tea for someone at work. Helping others can also benefit our own mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness. There are so many ways to help others as part of our everyday lives. Good deeds needn’t take much time or cost any money.

It’s important to be kind to yourself as well:

Whatever you can manage today is good enough. Some people feel that the lockdown is giving them the time and chance to learn new skills or try new things. That may be you and if so enjoy and celebrate that. If this isn’t you, try not to beat yourself up about what you see others doing. If things are hard right now, try and find some small things to celebrate each day. Try to tune out the voice of judgement and comparison and tune in to the voice that says you are enough.

Be kind to yourself:

  • Prioritize some “me” time, so you can relax and reflect on how you’re feeling and how your day or week has been so far
  • Turn off from your social media channels for a day, or even a week
  • Treat yourself to something small, such as buying or planting some flowers
  • Do something you enjoy, like listening to a favorite song or dancing in your kitchen
  • Spend some time in nature, which is good for our mental health
Try these useful tips which may help someone else out and improve your own wellbeing:

  • Smile at a stranger: Next time you’re out and about, smile at a stranger. It’s free and will brighten up their day and make you feel good. You may get one back too.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering is good for the community, makes you feel good, gives you work experience and is a good way to meet new people and learn new skills.
  • Check on your neighbors: When was the last time you checked on an elderly or vulnerable neighbor? Pop over and see if they are okay or need a helping hand.
  • Offer to help a new colleague: If there is a new person in the office, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Offer your help and show them the ropes.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.