September 19, 2016

Kindfulness: Connecting Kindness and Mindfulness

Kindness revealed

We hide behind thin sheets of self. Enclosed, we are hopefully, safe. Behind windows with fogged panes we watch the world slowly, painfully, rotate.

Someone peeks behind their swaying sheets and seems discouraged. They take a quick glance around. Others watching, waiting to see if someone will reach past their enclosure. Slowly, they lift the glass and quietly send encouragement through their small window. The discouraged person’s eyes flitter up. They sit a bit taller. The world spins, more peaceful in its journey.

Hunger cringes to hide their stomach’s deep whispers. Another hears the painful murmur. They look down at their nourishing meal.  They slide the plate to hunger’s feet. Hunger’s breath eases and the world is lighter on its axis.  

The mindfulness of kindness bears great benefit.

When Mindfulness and Kindness Connect

Mindfulness is the practice of awareness. It’s being present and attentive to your thoughts, feeling, and environment. Research shows mindfulness is directly connected to personal well-being.  We can’t ignore the physical, psychological, and social benefits of mindfulness. It promotes improved response to stress indicators, improved relationships with others, as well as increased overall mental well-being.

What if we took mindfulness a step further to include our communities? What if we were both mindful and kind? Kindfulness involves awareness of both self and others. It involves intentional kind actions that greatly benefit general wellness and mental health. Kindfulness creates purpose and encourages passion. 

What if we offered friendship to loneliness, we attempted to feed hunger, and we encouraged the discouraged? We could hold the door open a little longer and more often pay for the next person in line. What if we intentionally practiced kindfulness and encouraged others to do the same? What would happen to our world, and more immediately, to us?

Our impact would cause a movement. Studies show that serving someone else once a month for an average of 3 hours can have a significant effect on mental health. Because volunteers positively spent their time, they become more present and create a sense of belonging. At Project Helping, we provide easy opportunities for anyone to get involved. We encourage volunteerism to mitigate depression and the stigma surrounding it. Mindfulness is a unique tool proven to benefit health. Kindfulness has the ability to sharpen that impact.

5 Pillars of Kindfulness

There are 5 pillars that support kindfulness. The first pillar is volunteering. We get involved. Investing in our communities brings about substantial change. Next, we complete intentional acts of kindness. Those acts could be as simple as holding a door open or texting a friend a note of encouragement.  Then, we follow our actions with reflection. Our influence benefits mental health, as well as the community. Through connection, we inspire and motivate others to get involved. In turn, those experiences don’t end with just one story. Generating participation provides mental wellness the room to blossom. Finally, there’s gratitude. We show appreciation for each action unfolded and return to the next act of kindness.

The task at hand is not a difficult one. Rather, the task at hand has a significant impact. Kindfulness encourages us to lift fogged window frames. Most noteworthy, we create kind opportunities for both ourselves and others.

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