Kindness: benefits? learn to be nicer?

Often abused as a synonym of naivety, silliness, weakness, even stupidity, kindness is a rare quality which is gradually regaining its letters of nobility. This ability to making oneself available to others is good for body and soul, especially since “the human being is biologically predisposed to kindness”, assures Jacques Lecomte, specialist in positive psychology.

“Kindness has three facets,” he adds, benevolent gaze on others, the desire to understand them – empathy -, and altruistic and generous acts on a daily basis. “Far from being taken for” a good pear “, the good guy is therefore a benevolent, facilitator of human relations.

Kindness is a disarming power, says Laurence Devillairs, doctor of philosophy.

And to continue: “kindness is a strength, not a weakness. It is choice, commitment: it is his decision to make the good happen, to feel responsible for it. It has nothing to do with the passivity attributed to it. In addition, she has the power to make a difference. Between silencing or ignoring an injustice, and returning blow for blow, there is a third way: to refuse the too convenient‘That’s how it is, we won’t change anything’, and at his level, push back the evil with a smile. The good guy surprises and disarms, and also suggests that he could be mean.”

By doing good to others, we do ourselves good

Studies have shown that kindness, provided it is spontaneous and selfless, helps maintain health.

  • Kindness decreases stress
    Because there is a certain pleasure in being kind and generous, naturally selfless and sympathetic people have about 20% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than the rest of the population. An effect also favorable to the proper functioning of our immune system, sensitive to stress.
  • Kindness reduces the risk of depression
    Acting kindly causes the production of serotonin, an anti-depression neurotransmitter.
  • Kindness reduces pain
    The repeated kindness stimulates the production of endorphins, natural pain relievers, which translates into less chronic pain on a daily basis.
  • Kindness lowers blood pressure
    According to Daniel Fessler, director of the Bedari Kindness Institute in Los Angeles, “having a behavior centered on kindness, or even thinking about how we can be more,” releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes the dilation of the vessels. blood.
  • Kindness boosts self-esteem
    Being kind improves your self-esteem and the perception of others. “You feel like you are a good person, unlike an egocentric individualist”, underlines Jacques Lecomte.
  • Kindness makes you happy
    Being cooperative and generous, activates “the areas of satisfaction and reward in the brain”, continues the doctor of psychology.
  • Kindness is communicative
    Holding the door in the subway, in the restaurant or in the office encourages 60% of people who have benefited from this gesture to do the same for those who follow, against 40% in the opposite case, have shown researchers in social psychology.

Kindness is an effective virtue that is easily cultivated and transmitted. Nourished by concrete actions, within everyone’s reach, it requires a little effort.

1. Be considerate

Show thoughtfulness helps capture the moods and needs of the other. Is your friend upset? Take the time to question her / him: “What’s going on? Do you want to tell me?” Is your partner tired? Bring her breakfast in bed. No question of being charitable, nor of having a clear conscience, but of compassion and encouragement.

2. Adapt to the moment and the person

Hard to to rejoice in the success of a loved one while one is struggling oneself. And yet, “this is essential in a couple,” says Delphine Luginbuhl, a psychology coach with a degree in psychology.

In another context, kindness may consist of to be closed. The formula “I tell you this for your good” may prove to be correct. “I think it’s better that you stop clinging to …” a love, a job, an object …

3. Beware of hasty judgments

Thomas d’Ansembourg, psychotherapist, HR trainer, alert on hasty judgments made on an individual or a behavior. “To say ‘It doesn’t happen’, or ‘He always looks like he’s standing on the surface of things and interpreting without knowing.” Behind an attitude, there are reasons, and behind faults, there are qualities.

4. Assert yourself without hurting

“Being nice doesn’t mean letting yourself be walked on,” specifies Delphine Luginbuhl. express disagreement without hurting. “The trick is to say it in the right way, after taking the time to listen to your interlocutor without interrupting him.” I heard your point of view, I understand it, however mine is this one ” .

5. Think before you get angry

Getting carried away by anger hurts the other person. “We need to first take the time to listen to ourselves, towelcome strong emotions – fear, anger, stress – to understand what they say about us and use the energy wisely, “advises Thomas d’Ansembourg. However, this does not prevent you from showing your teeth to protect a loved one (child, friend …) attacked by a third party, (colleague, relation …) Gentil is then equivalent to set the record straight.

6. Give up being “the” lifeline

Making yourself available to others is a cardinal point of kindness, but when the other abuses your listening, you must ask yourself what the relationship brings to you : should we keep it or break it? It’s up to you to weigh the arguments. In both cases, expose “your” truth: your feelings and your decision, even if it means adjusting things.

To read to go further:

  • Too good? too much with? Delphine Luginbuhl, ed. Eyrolles € 16 (released in April 2021).
  • Stop being nice, be real, Thomas d’Ansembourg, ed. of Man 12 €.

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Kindness: benefits? learn to be nicer?

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