The Gratitude movement is everywhere, reminding ourselves to step into the mindset of what we’re grateful for in life as a daily habit. It’s an internal process where we sit still and think about three to five things we’re grateful for and appreciate that either have happened in our day or what’s in our life. It’s a beautiful ritual that rewires the brain to move into a more positive state.
Then there’s expressing Gratitude, being thankful for what someone has done or shown you. Showing your gratefulness to another is always a wonderful way to let someone else feel appreciated.
However, it may seem as though that Kindness has been left behind, to have gotten lost in our need and desire to achieve. But just as Gratitude brings you back into the moment, so does Kindness. It might be that perhaps it’s not as easy to step into the habit of self-kindness. To have more gentle thoughts about how we respond or treat ourselves especially when we’re in such a hurry to achieve and complete!
So How Do You Begin To Show Yourself Kindness?
Knowing how to be kind to one’s self starts with that voice in our head. Instead of nagging or belittling our self, it’s about switching it to being supportive and encouraging. We have to catch ourselves going down that steep edge of ‘I should’ve done this… – why didn’t I do that… ’. It’s a slippery path and if we don’t catch, it can cause so much internal conflict and pain.
One of the ways that I encourage kindness into my world is to practice external Kindness, it can be an easier approach to begin with. Find a few simple ways to engage in random acts of kindness – yes, we’ve heard that before but it’s these tiny gestures that have a ripple effect into our own internal Kindness. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly, it’s more about taking the opportunity to make a connection. Here’s a couple of ways that you can do this:
- Make eye contact and smiling (hold their gaze for 1-2 seconds)
- If a person looks great in their outfit – tell them and make their day
- Offering your seat to a pregnant lady or person in need
- Opening the door for the person in front or behind you
Simple gestures like these connect us to ourselves and others. Kindness is the key to breaking down the walls of loneliness and Kindness connects us back with humanity and this is the true meaning of Kindness!
Kindness and Gratitude do a number of brilliant things for our wellbeing:
1. Brings you into a present state
2. Brings out all the warm and fuzzy feelings
3. It helps the body to release a hormone in the brain called oxytocin and this hormone does a number of wonderful things for our body
- Creates a state of calmness
- Slows down ageing (oh yes it does!)
- Great for the heart
- Reduces inflammation
4. Creates a positive effect in daily life
5. Keeps anxiety and stress at bay
The main difference between Kindness and Gratitude is that Kindness simply proceeds Gratitude. They both go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. To step into the state of internal Gratitude we get into a soft mindful state – that’s Kindness (I know!) and then move into Gratitude. If we’re expressing Gratitude to someone, then there has to have been an act of Kindness to be grateful and then want to share this with another, right?
So, there is no Kindness vs Gratitude, it’s a beautiful partnership that allows deeper moments in your day. And if you want to add Kindness into your day, perhaps it’s about acknowledging that when you are grateful, you’ve already stepped into your Kindness state beforehand and that just might be the gamechanger!