Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: Kindness

18 May 2020
Stefano Mirabello
Stefano Mirabello
Medical Writer
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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24th May), hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. The theme for the week is Kindness.

Looking after our mental health and being ‘kind’ could not come at a timelier period.

Over the past few months, we have witnessed the kindness of the nation, as we live through a health pandemic.

People look out for friends and neighbours and offer support and guidance when it is very much needed. A little kindness, even the smallest of gestures can really go a long way and make a huge difference in someone’s life.

The impact of kindness on our mental health

Research shows that kindness and our mental health are deeply impacted. Kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps to reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem.

Kindness releases endorphins in the brain.

It’s a natural painkiller and that kindness helps release oxytocin, a ‘cardio protective’ hormone that releases another chemical called ‘nitric oxide in the body that dilates blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure.

Scientific evidence has proven that kindness changes the brain, impacts the heart and immune system, and may even be an antidote to depression. We’re actually genetically wired to be kind.

 

Tips to be kind to others during the Coronavirus

  • Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
  • Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch-up with someone you know
  • Help with household chores at home
  • Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
  • Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
  • Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
  • Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
  • Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
  • Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
  • Send an inspirational quote to a friend
  • Send an interesting article to a friend
  • Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone catch-up
  • Reach out to call a friend, family member or neighbour who is experiencing – loneliness or self-isolation
  • Donate to a charity
  • Lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding the change in routine
  • Give praise to your colleague for something they’ve done well
  • Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague
  • Send an inspirational story of kindness people around the world are doing for others to someone you know
  • Donate to food banks
  • Offer to skill share with a friend via video call – you could teach guitar, dance etc…
  • Offer support to vulnerable neighbours
  • Offer to send someone a takeaway or a meal

Just doing one thing will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy!

More information

Read our blog post on looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic:
https://www.nowpatient.com/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

Read more about Mental Health Awareness Week: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

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