I became aware recently that this has been designated “altruistic August” by the Action for Happiness folks. This led me to the health benefits of kindness, and how kindness as a lifestyle is one of the strongest predictors of wellness.
In our current world beset by anger, hatred, warfare, division and acrimony, we would do well to remember the lyrics of the 1998 song “Hands” by Jewel, the music video of which shows Jewel among the volunteers rescuing helpless, frightened people from the wreckage of a collapsed, bombed out building, while the tag line is sung, “In the end, only kindness matters.”
Interestingly, the song was written before 9/11 and the myriad disasters and human suffering that have happened since.
While acts of kindness and generosity have been shown to reduce heart disease and high blood pressure, diminish feelings of isolation and loneliness and even increase longevity and quality of life and joyfulness in those who commit acts of kindness, we are reminded that there is another, perhaps more profound reason why kindness should be practiced as much as possible. As we watch folks rescued from the disastrous flooding in Eastern Kentucky, bombed out buildings in Ukraine, and rescued from falling from the 30 foot high fences protecting the US southern border, we realize that we must choose to be kind to our fellow man. It is in our DNA. It is about survival of the species, and it is in the agreement we made when we were given life on this planet - that our most important job is to make this a better place for those who cohabit this orbiting rock with us. And, by the way, we will be happier, healthier and more successful if we make that our focus.
During this, and every month, let us make an effort to be kinder, in our words, deeds and thoughts. We will be healthier and happier because of it and the world will become just a little bit better.
Dr. John Monaco
www.monacowelleness.org (subscribe to the site for email notifications of specials, new products and treatments and for our weekly newsletter.)