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Why kindness is good for our brain health.

“Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato

We are talking a lot about Kindness at the moment and this is for good reason.

Last year, I had the opportunity to be involved with prospective medical students who were practising university interview questions and I was fortunate to be given the topic of empathy to discuss with them.

Thankfully (almost) every prospective medical student had a good grasp of what empathy meant-simply put, seeing something from another persons perspective. My favourite answer though included the sentence that expressing empathy isn’t just for people working in health care, empathy is important for everyone in everyday life.

Kindness is letting someone know we care and is a natural extension from having empathy for someone.

There are many scientific benefits to kindness – simple acts of kindness raise our happiness levels and can help us feel optimistic 

Psychology tells us that 5 small acts of kindness per week can boost our own mood – these simple acts can also help our energy and self esteem and can even help with our own feelings of low mood or anxiety. We benefit from these even more if we do these 5 acts of kindness in a single day. *

Why kindness is good for our brain health?

Our brain has something called mirror neurons- when we see someone cry, we feel sad, when we see someone laughing or smiling, we laugh or smile too. Our responses reflect what we see the other person experiencing. So this is why being kind is good for our brains as well as those we are being kind to. 

Kind today, kinder tomorrow

The more we practice being kind, the more our brain benefits from this and we can actually strengthen these mirror neurons. Children can benefit from this too and encouraging our children to have empathy and be kind to others is a really important part of helping their emotional well being. 

Keep well and be kind,

Dr Clara Russell