Free Press Article – November 18, 2011

Dr. Paula King

On Nov. 2, 2011, Tom Kenyon, mayor of Grand Junction, proclaimed November to be “Random Acts of Kindness” month and encouraged all citizens to participate in daily acts of kindness.

What a wonderful gift you can give another person simply by smiling at them, opening a door for a person, or letting someone with only a few items in their cart go before you in line at the grocery store. Random acts of kindness are about getting cut off in traffic and instead of the one-finger salute, you choose to give a five finger wave signifying, “We’ve all had days like yours.”

Acts of kindness obviously do not have to cost money; they cost only a few moments of your time and the intention of being the “kind one” in your home and the one that others meet in the stores and on the street. Kindness starts at home with an attitude of respect and deeds of love and appreciation for those with whom we live day-to-day. Then you can expand your kind intentions to your friends, neighbors, community, and outward to all persons.

The next time you find yourself frustrated or angry with someone, take a deep breath and ask yourself to stop and send that person a blessing before interacting with them and watch how your communication changes and how much more easily you can reach an understanding or agreement.

Giving to others has the added great advantage of being a gift to yourself as well. Research has shown that when you smile at someone or engage in any act of kindness toward another person, you release a cascade of positive neurochemistry into your body that calms your nerves and enhances your immune function. Just smiling makes you healthier!

Smiling at someone also causes their brain to release that same cascade of positive neurochemistry and enhances their well-being, and, amazing as it may sound, anyone observing you smile at someone will have an increase in their positive neurochemistry, too! It’s just a smile but it can do so much.

Think of the power we each have to help ourselves and every one else experience greater health and well-being simply by being nicer to those around us. It is easy to believe that one person cannot be much of an influence in the world, and yet, science tells us through research that how we treat one another and ourselves is a major key to health and an effective antidote to depression and anxiety.

November is proclaimed Random Acts of Kindness month, but let us not stop there, let us make Grand Junction, and the whole Grand Valley, a place of kindness and respect for others, and send that influence out into the rest of the state, the country and on and on, for this month and all months to come. Let us promote health for all.

—————————-

Dr. Paula King is a licensed psychologist, who also holds certifications as a health coach, a HeartMath® biofeedback practitioner, an interactive imagery guide, and a sport psychologist. She can be reached at Healing Horizons, 256-8449.