The Power and Importance of Being Kind for a Healthy Life


Do You Consider Yourself Kind?

I’ve always had a sense that kindness is important. And now, in this wonderful article in The Atlantic, I see how and why kindess works.

(Do take a few minutes to read it from beginning to end. This is one of those life-changing articles that is well worth the time to read!)

Turns out that kindness is the glue that keeps relationships together and contempt is the wedge that drives them apart.

For many years, I’ve tried to become kinder–ever since I was in my thirties when my friend, Chuck Thompson, reminded me of it’s importance. Since then, I’ve worked on it.

And now, in this Atlantic article, I see that my instincts were well-founded.

“Kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage.” according to research done by John  and Julie Gottman.  And the more kindness someone experiences, the kinder they’ll be.

Kindness is important for a good marriage. It’s important for raising children. And I think it’s important for living a good life!

Think of Kindness as a Muscle

You might think that people are either kind or they’re not. But as suggested in the Atlantic article, I prefer to think of kindness as something that grows stronger with exercise and practice.

A little work on being kind every day is likely to pay off in big ways.

Here are 5 ideas for practicing kindness. I try to use one or another of these practices every day.

  1. Notice good things in people and comment on them.
  2. Assume that people have good intentions even when their best efforts go awry.
  3. Touch your partner and your friends. Literally, reach out with gestures of affection.
  4. Take a moment to respond to what your partner says. Don’t just blow him (or her) off.
  5. Try to do something generous every day. Small acts of generosity work wonders.

I still don’t claim to be kind — or at least not as kind as I’d like to be. But I’m still married after all these 40 plus years, so perhaps my ongoing efforts have made a difference.

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Keep a Kindness Journal This Week

You don’t need to make this difficult or fancy. Each day, just jot down somewhere (on your phone or a small piece of paper) one thing you did that was kind… a moment or a gesture or an action that took you out of yourself and enabled you to connect in a positive way with someone else.

When you take a moment to reflect on an act of kindness by writing it down, you’ll be pushing yourself to “flex your kindness muscle” by keeping it in the foreground of your mind. And the kinder you are, the better your relationships will be… with everyone.

In the comments, share one or two ways that you’ve recently been kind to someone else — your kids, your spouse, a friend — anyone at all.