Practicing Kindness: A Wonderful Way to Care for Your Brain
Although sometimes it might be hard to believe, we are “programmed” to be kind. And not only that, but practicing kindness is good for your health.
Practicing kindness in your day-to-day life is a way to create more respectful and sensitive interactions. Actions that are driven by reciprocity and designed exclusively to do good result in better mental health.
Now more than once you’ve probably thought that “planting” good seeds won’t always guarantee you a “harvest” of respect.
But while you might have experienced more than one betrayal and a few disappointments in your life, there’s one aspect that is certain: you can live a better life if you keep that harmony between what you feel and what you do.
In addition to this, and this might surprise you, your brain is genetically programmed to do good. But it doesn’t seem this way because every day, those other biological tendencies like envy or resentment can sometimes weigh on you more heavily.
We invite you to learn more about this interesting topic.
Your brain understands that kindness is important
Jerome Kagan is a well-known professor at Harvard University who specializes in what’s known as the “psychology of kindness.”
- According to him, humanity is genetically programmed to do good. All of us, to put it another way, come into this world with the “software” installed to enable us to practice kindness.
- As experience throughout history has shown, however, this is not always the case. Why does this happen?
If your brain understands that practicing kindness, compassion and respect is necessary… are there others out there who don’t understand this and make the opposite choices? We’ll look at that next.
See also: “4 Buddhist teachings about love“
Practicing kindness enables us to survive as a species
- In his day, Charles Darwin formulated the same thesis that Professor Kagan did. The human brain is programmed to practice kindness because it guarantees the survival of the species.
- In addition to that, kind acts enable us to understand that people have a much greater chance of survival if we support one another in a group rather than living in solitude.
- Humans are empathetic because this enables them to identify the needs of others, therefore allowing them to provide assistance and ensuring the survival of the group.
Why are acts of kindness not as abundant as they could be?
It’s interesting to know that while people are generally programmed to do good, the behavior up to this point in society has instead put the balance of the planet at risk.
Wars, environmental pollution, social inequalities, attacks against human rights…why do people act in this way?
- David Keltner is a professor at the University of Berkeley and the director of the Center for Kindness Studies.
- He explains that the way our society is constructed has inclined us to be more focused on individualism rather than the group consciousness.
- When people begin to think in terms of their own interests, the biological balance is tipped toward envy, rage, violence, and competition. Never towards kindness.
- Kindness and the desire to promote good things are not useful if you only wish to elevate your status with more wealth and social recognition.
This is, without a doubt, depressing news.
Also read: “5 surprising things that cause anxiety“
Practicing kindness takes care of your brain
Psychological dimensions such as resentment, envy, or the stress of continuous competition affect your physical and emotional health.
- Everyone at some point in their lives has been carried away by these personal vices.
- You gradually become aware of the fact that acting or feeling this way is wrong because it distances you from your essence, your roots.
Your brain knows fully well that these biological tendencies towards negative actions keep you from connecting with others and lead to deep and unpleasant loneliness.
Read also: “Emotional intelligence for hard times“
Practicing kindness has a positive effect on your inner balance, on the other hand, bringing you peace and well-being.
- It doesn’t matter if other people aren’t aware of those small acts of kindness that you practice each day.
- You’re aware of it and that’s enough because it allows you to be in harmony, knowing what is right, and that’s music to everyone’s ears.
- Kindness and compassion light up powerful regions of the limbic system in the brain.
- A compassionate person is more intuitive, more responsive, and more aware of everything that surrounds them.
Although you might not see actions charged with respect and genuine kindness all around you, this shouldn’t make you give up or mimic that same neglect.
Believe it or not, practicing kindness is contagious. Don’t forget that you can be the best example for your children, friends, and family.
Small actions can do a lot, and if everyone promotes the motor of daily kindness, we’ll see some excellent long term results.