Kindness and self-compassion


Being kind to ourselves and others can help us to be healthier; both physically and mentally. It can help to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, result in a more effective immune system, a greater ability to manage our weight, and of course most importantly it makes us feel good!”

Being kind to ourselves and others can have a really beneficial effect on us, both emotionally and physically, as well as making other people happy, which can also add to our happiness.

Kindness can lead to the release of various chemicals in the body, including; oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, which together help us to feel happier and calmer, and better able to cope with pain. It can also result in lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If cortisol is reduced, this can lead to lower blood pressure, an improved immune system and a better ability to manage weight.

You don’t need scientific proof of these chemical reactions to know this is true. You will know this just by observing how you feel in your daily life when you’ve been kind to people. It can be as simple as smiling and saying hello to someone. Next time you’re not having a good day, try smiling and this can be enough to change your mood, especially if your smile is reciprocated.

Being kind to other people is good for them and good for us. But maybe it is more important to be kind to ourselves. This leads to positive chemical responses in our bodies and can change our mental state long-term. It raises our self-esteem and self-confidence, which increases our ability to achieve those things we want to do.

Even people who regularly demonstrate kindness to others can struggle to be kind to themselves. When things go well they didn’t deserve it, and when things go badly it’s because they are useless. As well as believing this to be true it has become a habit. This makes it more challenging to change. However, scientific research on the neuroplasticity of the brain has shown us that we can change neural pathways. We can change the way we think, and we can learn how to be kind to ourselves and take advantage of the physical and mental benefits of self-compassion and kindness.

Flipping your thoughts around and changing your vocabulary is really important. This can take effort, but solution focused hypnotherapy can help you to achieve this more easily. You don’t have to believe it, you just have to think it, to benefit from these positive thought patterns.

The next time you notice yourself being self-critical, consider how you can change the way you talk to yourself.

For example:

“I’m useless at that” can change to “I haven’t managed to do that in the past, but I know I can learn new things and try a new approach. What changes can I make to help me get better at it?”

It might seem a small change, but it’s enough to stop our brain responding in a stressful way and releasing cortisol. This stress hormone can put increased stress on our bodies, possibly leading to an increase in blood pressure, a less effective immune system and a potential increase in body weight. Instead, the new response means we are now looking at the issue with a forward-looking, positive approach and being kind to ourselves, with the reassurance that we do have the ability to do the task at hand.

Being kind to ourselves and others can help us to be healthier, both physically and mentally. It can help to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, enhance the effectiveness of our immune system, help us to manage our weight, and most importantly, it makes us feel good!

Anna Pittard