When it comes to improving your well being and mental health gratitude and kindness have been shown to go hand in hand.
A new study that was published in the Journal of Happiness studies this year found that people who suffer from anxiety, stress and depression can reap huge benefits from keeping a journal that focuses their attention on the good things in life such as gratitude and kindness.
“The researchers rounded up 48 people who were on a waiting list to receive psychotherapy, who reported problems ranging from depression and anxiety to substance abuse and eating disorders. Participants were assigned to one of three groups:
- In the first, they were asked to keep a gratitude journal. “There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about,” read the instructions. “Think back over the past day and write down up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.”
- The second group kept a journal about kindness: “Kind acts are behaviors that benefit other people, or make others happy. They usually involve some effort on our part. Be sure to include at least one kind act that you did intentionally.” Like the first group, they were also asked to talk about their moods that day.
- The third group—which acted as a control—was asked to write about their daily mood, noting their expectations for the following day, their sense of connectedness with others, and their overall satisfaction with life.”
The results showed that both the kindness and gratitude groups showed measurable improvements over those who simply monitored their mood. Both the kindness and gratitude groups had a higher percent of happy optimistic days. They were also more satisfied with their lives, which they perceived to be more meaningful, and they felt more connected with others. Although those in the kindness group didn’t become kinder because of the process the gratitude group did become more grateful, suggesting that gratitude can be cultivated in a short amount of time, but not kindness.
So the results show that this brief exercise—which lasted only two weeks—didn’t just increase feelings of gratitude. Keeping lists of gratitude and kindness made people feel happier, more connected, and more meaningful.
It is my intention to try and be kinder and fit random acts of kindness into my day. This will hopefully not only benefit the people around me and my relationships but also help me to take steps to being a happier and more grateful person.
When we show kindness to others we benefit from our own love and care. The more someone bestows kindness on us, the more likely and willing we are to be kind to someone else.
The writer Herman Melville once said.
“A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
So when you perform an act of kindness, you are actually sending compassion into the world, and your efforts can change one person, who then can change another, who then passes that kindness to someone else and the cycle continues on and on.
If you would like to know more about how mindfulness meditation and kindness are linked to improving your sense of well being and happiness please read this article here at Jim Hopper.com.
And to end here are 5 things that I am grateful for this week in brief!
Hugs with my son. They are unlike any other- he gives amazing hugs.
Weekends with my husband and son to do special family things like go for adventures in the woods!
My sons big appetite- we are so lucky he isn’t a fussy eater as this would cause no end of problems when trying to tackle his weight gain due to CF (see EPI).
Being able to stay at home with my son and help him build forts to play in and jump on! It was a pure delight to be with him and to watch his unadulterated joy at some carefully placed cushions and a throw.
I hope you have found something to be grateful for this week!