Kindness : Good for the Giver & the Receiver

You Can Touch Lives with One Small Act

It's World Kindness Day and that's a great reminder that being kind can change lives, in small but powerful ways.  Indeed, research shows that kindness is great for both giver and receiver and it tends to multiply and expand.

I remember being in line in the grocery store and a woman and I chatted about a specific cookbook for sale.  She looked at it longingly and said her children would love making those recipes.  I saw her count out small change for her limited groceries, and decided to buy her the cookbook. She was stunned, but very grateful.  I told her to have a wonderful time with her children - that thinking about it made me smile.  It made us both feel good.

Kindness is also good for your health.  Here's how:

  1. Empathy towards strangers increases the oxytocin (feel good hormone) in your body by 47%! (Claremont Graduate University study) ) This lowers your blood pressure and helps your heart function better.
  2. Being kind at least once a week increases your happiness.
  3. Kindness and empathy reduce inflammation in your body, by its impact on your vagus nerve.
  4. Kindness is contagious.  People tend to pay acts of kindness forward, such as when someone pays for your toll on the highway.  The tendency is you pay for the next person, etc., etc.
    A poignant example in the NE Journal of Medicine: a 28 year old donated a kidney at a clinic.   It created a ripple effect where the loved ones of kidney recipients donated one of theirs to others waiting for a kidney. The ‘domino effect’,  spanned the entire United States, with 10 people receiving a new kidney thanks to that anonymous donor.

Here are a few ways you can demonstrate kindness:

Pay for someone's parking meter, buy someone a cup of coffee, put a post it note with kind words on someone's desk, sweep your neighbor's walkway, give sincere and specific praise, carry an elderly person's groceries to their car, let someone into traffic, cuddle animals at a shelter, say thank you to the maintenance crew, smile.  There are infinite ways to be kind to others, and it can make your day as well as theirs.

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Could a Cold Shower Prevent Depression?

cold showersCold Showers Have Amazing Benefits

Cold showers and ice baths?  How could those help me?  About a month ago, I attended a 5 day workshop with one of the world's leading personal development coaches and speakers, Brendon Burchard.  He coaches Oprah and her team.

In sharing various techniques for maintaining energy and vitality, he explained how he took ice baths every night during the training, to reduce his inflammation and revitalize.  He said it made him feel twenty years younger.

Anthony Robbins plunges in a 57 degree pool for one minute every morning.
Famous athletes and performers like Lebron James and Usher use the same technique after events.

A bit horrified and intrigued, I decided to investigate.  I must say, I've been taking cold showers for a month and they really make a difference.  There's no question that you have to get used to them, and some days, all I want is a hot shower.  But even then, I finish with the bracing cold to get my energy up.  It works. . It takes a while, but it works.  Here's why:

How Cold Showers and Ice Baths Heal Your Body

1. They reduce inflammation.  Most all of us have it, believe it or not.  Pain, soreness, tense muscles, illness- all of that usually has inflammation associated with it.  Just like you put ice on a swollen ankle, cold water and ice baths lower inflammation levels significantly.

2. They get your circulation going, really.  Ask anyone who's done the Polar Bear dip in the middle of winter into freezing water.  Cold showers and ice baths boost circulation and reboot your system.  They help you be clearer and more alert.

3. They clear out lactic acid and toxins in your body, according to Dr. Ben Kim.  LeBron James says his legs feel much better and fresher the day after.

4. And yes- they do relive symptoms of depression. Cryotherapy releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, and creates an analgesic effect.

Check with your doctor before you start a cold water  shower or ice bath regimen.  Im still not ready for an ice bath, but I do derive great value from my cold showers.  Try it yourself.  You may well find that it becomes one of the most valuable tools to start your day.

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photo from Aweber library