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TICK Value of the Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. There are so many things you can do support good mental health: from movement, to spending time in nature, getting enough sleep, spending time doing things you love…and, our favourite, compassion.

 

Kindness is a simple way to help EVERYONE. When we are kind to each other, it helps us to feel connected, which means we forge new friendships or deepen existing ones. Research has also shown that when we’re kind, when someone is kind to us or even if we just witness kindness, our bodies release feel-good hormones which lift our mood, giving us what’s known as a ‘Helper’s High’. It’s also been shown that people who are kind have much lower anxiety levels, age more slowly and have healthier hearts. Kindness isn’t just a nice thing to do, but can help us improve our own mental health and wellbeing, while helping others at the same time. And Mental Health Awareness Week is a perfect time to start!

 

The Science of Compassion:

 

Compassion can help us feel happier

When we experience kindness, a hormone called dopamine is released in our brain which gives us a feeling of elevation and lifts our mood – it’s often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’.

 

Compassion is good for the heart

Have you noticed that when you are kind to someone that you feel good inside? Acts of kindness are often accompanied by a feeling of emotional warmth which in turn produces the hormone oxytocin in your body. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which expands our blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and protects our heart.

 

Compassion slows ageing

Kindness has been shown to slow down the ageing process. Remarkable research found that oxytocin can reduce levels of free radicals and inflammation (two main culprits of ageing) in our cardiovascular system, which slows ageing at the source.

 

Compassion improves relationships

We tend to like people who show us kindness. This is because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people and makes us feel more ‘bonded’.  Our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate with one another. The stronger the emotional bonds within groups, the greater were the chances of survival and so ‘kindness genes’ were etched into the human genome. So today, when we are kind to each other, we feel a connection that strengthens our existing relationships and helps us to create new ones.

 

Compassion is contagious

Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards. When we are kind, we inspire others to be kind and studies show that it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – that’s an amazing three degrees of separation! This means that when you are kind to one person, that one act of kindness will positively affect up to 125 people!


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