As we mentioned in an earlier post, Science Backs Practicing Self-Kindness, phycologists are diving deeper into finding out the cause and effect relationship of adults and adolescents who practice self-compassion, self-kindness, and mindfulness.
Phycologists Marina Cunha, Ana Xavier, and Paula Castilho are focusing their research on self-compassion and adolescents. In their studies, they use Kristen Neff Self-Compassion Scale to help them identify which children practice self-compassion and which do not.
All this research is revealing there is tremendous value in teaching self-care practices in our schools for everyone, teachers, parents, students, counselors, and principals; it appears to be essential for everyone's mental well-being.
To help you get started on your wellness journey, here are three acts of self-kindness you can do this week.
Until next time... be thoughtful, be present, be kind.
Join Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy, and Michael and head straight to Neverland! With Halloween right around the corner, our team thought it would be fun to bring out your inner child.
This week it is all about not growing up! Here are three fun things to do in the name of self-kindness.
Until next time...be thoughtful, be present, be kind.
Kindness is contagious. Observing and learning about people doing kind acts for others has the power to give us the desire to replicate those positive behaviors.
Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University, says, "If we saw more positive stories in the media, it might spur a trend of compassion." He goes on to say, "If we had people reading about random acts of kindness [more often], it would spread, and people would help more people."
So what are you waiting for, start spreading kindness with these five acts:
Taking a little time for yourself restores and re-energizes you. It allows you to think more clearly, make better decisions, and build your self-esteem.
PsychCentral defines Self-care as "any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. ... Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It's also key to a good relationship with oneself and others."
This week we have three easy fun and delicious self-kindness acts for you to do! They are so easy in fact, you can do them every day this week, or anytime you need a mood boost!
Scientific studies are now showing when we devote ourselves to others by being kind, thoughtful, empathetic, and understanding, rather than focusing predominantly on ourselves, we will make lasting changes to our well-being.
Dr. Karyn Hall asserts in her article on The Importance of Kindness that "Being kind can strengthen your relationships and a sense of satisfaction in life."
There are many benefits to doing acts of kindness; here is a list of ten:
Can empathy be taught or is it genetically hard-wired? You may have heard people say; “You either have empathy, or you don’t," “Everyone is born with a certain amount of empathy,” “Girls have more empathy than boys.”
In Dr. Riess’ TEDx talk, she reveals her scientific findings that humans CAN develop greater empathy skills. As an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Riess has administered numerous studies using her E.M.P.A.T.H.Y. formula. Her formula has proven to increase empathy skills among those who use it.
Additionally, Daniel Coyle the author of “The Talent Code" states, a person can change his or her behavior and habits by growing myelin. You "grow" myelin by doing deep practice of a particular skill. Furthermore, in the book “Mindset,” Carol Dweck points out that if we develop a growth mindset, we can change the way we view and do things. In other words, you can teach an old dog new tricks if they have an open mindset.
It is important to continue to practice empathy skills with students of all ages, from pre-school to high school. We’ve put together a fun kindness activity to help you and your students improve your empathy skills.
Step 1: Open with a video
Show your students the age-appropriate video about empathy. We suggest you show the elementary video link to ALL grades K-12 before showing the age-appropriate video. Why? The elementary video is easy to understand.
Step 2: Read stories
Print off all three stories that we adapted from Character Education:
For younger grades, have a parent volunteer or teacher read the stories to the class. For older grades, ask for three student volunteers to read each story to the class. If your classroom has the capability, you could project the stories.
Step 3: Discuss the empathy formula
Write Dr. Riess' empathy formula on the board.
E = eye contact
M = movement
P = posture
A = affect or expressed emotions
T = tone of voice
H = hearing the whole person without judgment
Y = your response
You can do this discussion as a whole group or pair students into smaller groups. Discuss how the empathy formula is unfolding in each of the stories. Ask the students to come up with specific examples from each story. For instance, in the story "Puppies For Sale," the last line - “With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.”
Step 4: Brainstorm real issues
As a class brainstorm and write out a list of struggles that people might be going through; this can be a family pet that has just passed, a grandparent who is sick, a bad grade in class, someone who is struggling with a particular friendship, being stressed out about an exam, etc.
Step 5: Give a message of kindness
Ask your students (and yourself) to get out a piece of paper. Have them to write down a name of someone they know who has been struggling or maybe just needs a little kindness done for them. Invite your students to write a note or draw a picture for the person they wrote down. Then ask your students to give his or her message of kindness to that person as soon as it is possible.
Share your stories, pictures, and thoughts with us! #ichoose2bekind
Taking strategic breaks throughout your day can refresh your brain and help you find solutions to difficult problems.
According to Psychology Today, breaks improve emotional health, prevent decision fatigue, restores motivation, increases productivity and creativity, strengthens memory, and enhances learning.
Do these three acts of self-kindness this week; they will provide you with mini-mental breaks that will keep you moving forward.
Kindness is an effective way to increase the feeling of belonging and has the power to change a community. When we perform acts of kindness, we promote a sense of gratitude for our own lives and compassion for others.
Tom Tait previous Mayor of Anaheim, California, believes kindness can heal our cities. Mayor Tait, says kindness is an action word, and he called his community to get off the couch and do something kind. Mayor Tait believes kindness "can change a family, a neighborhood, a school, a city, a nation, and ultimately, our world."
Kindness can positively connect us. According to Psychology Today, "When you feel connected with others, you lessen alienation, and you enhance the sense that we are more similar than dissimilar in our experiences. Feeling connected melds us together rather than divides us."
We invite you to increase your sense of belonging and create a stronger community through kindness. Do these five acts of kindness this week!
We'd love to hear how you and your students are doing with your weekly kindness challenges. You can let us know by commenting on this blog post or share on social media using #iChoose2BeKind.
Until next time...be present, be thoughtful, be kind.
You know you are practicing self-kindness when you can recognize the difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person. You understand that your worth is unconditional.
Self-compassion is critical for healthy self-esteem and resilience. According to Ravi Shah, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, "There is a lot of discussions today about narcissism and its problems, but we do want people to have some healthy narcissism."
Psychology Today states, healthy narcissism gives a "stable sense of self when things don't go well in life, whether it's a bad day, a loss in competition, or the loss of a job. If we lose our sense of self-worth during these challenges of life, we will have a hard time recovering."
The doctors are saying it is good for you to practice self-kindness! So what are you waiting for, do these three acts of self-kindness this week and see how amazing you can feel.
According to Patty O'Grady, Ph.D., an expert in the area of neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology with an emphasis on the educational arena, experiencing acts of kindness can change the brain of children and adolescents.
Dr. Patty O'Grady says, "Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it. Kindness is an emotion that students feel, and empathy is a strength that they share."
Studies show students who actively participate in performing acts of kindness are:
Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.