“Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love”
- Lao Tzu
Yesterday I was driving to get my car washed when a cyclist got knocked off her bike by a motorcyclist. Luckily she was unharmed, she got up a little shaken, of course, but seemingly fine. As I witnessed this I noticed all the cars closest to her carried on as normal - the motorcyclist drove off (WTAF) and pedestrians just stared. I was the only person who made sure that this woman was okay. Let me say, I am no saint but who doesn’t check on someone who has been knocked off their bike?!? As I left I thought ‘what is the world coming to when people knock others off their bikes and drive off?’
I am currently studying to be a Mindfulness teacher as I was given the opportunity to become a mindfulness practitioner with the Mindfulness Association. During week 2 of training I learnt about a practice called ‘Memories of Kindness’ and I wanted to share it with you as I think it’s lovely.
Our brains are wired towards a negativity bias, meaning it is normal for us to think more negative thoughts than positive ones - it is at a ratio of 5:1! This means that we have to think 5x more positive thoughts to balance out the negative ones. Fortunately, Mindfulness can help us do this in many ways and this particular practice is really sweet and simple:
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight or supported by a chair, rest your hands on your knees and either close your eyes or find a fixed focal point.
Take a few breaths to ground yourself and become present in this moment.
Think about when someone in this past week was kind to you.
What happened? How did it make you feel? Where do you notice these feelings? Just observe and don’t make any judgments. If you feel warm, that’s fine and if you feel numb, that is also fine.
Think about when you were kind to someone in the past week.
What did you do? Where were you? How did it make you feel? What did you notice? Again don’t make any judgement just notice and be curious about what is happening to you.
When during the past week were you kind to yourself?
What did you do? How did it make you feel? What are you noticing and feeling in your body? This one might feel really easy or it might feel really hard, don’t make any judgements and notice if you are often unkind to yourself. How could you be more kind to yourself?
Our neuro pathways might currently be little dirt tracks of kindness but by practicing this simple exercise daily we strengthen our neural pathway.
Another way to strengthen these neural pathways is to do random acts of kindness such as:
- Smiling at strangers
- Then sending them a kind wish
- Make someone a cup of tea
- Send someone a message to say you are thinking of them
- Offer your help
By practicing this reflection exercise and random acts of kindness we can turn our dusty road tracks into ‘Kindness Super Highways’ – how cool is that! I believe that we humans are generally good and I believe we get disconnected from ourselves over time and our negativity bias becomes stronger than our positivity bias. By just taking a few minutes each day we can connect with each other, love ourselves and be kind to others, and with practice this becomes our default.
Today I offer you to become a kindness ninja, see how you can be kind to others and in what ways, and how to be kind to yourself! Then reflect how it makes you feel before you go to bed tonight!