Do you have weeks when you are just stressed out? Last week was a little like that for me. I could feel the tension in my body increasing and increasing, and it left me tired and low on energy.
Then I came across a fascinating Time magazine article. It talked about how, according to recent scientific studies, being compassionate towards others – even just thinking compassionate thoughts – has a great impact on stress reduction. For you medical nerds out there, this is how it works: acts of kindness and compassion “tune” the vagus nerve, reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
So next time you’re stressing out with all your tasks and to-do lists, stop. Take a break, and go do something kind for someone else. Write someone a note. Buy someone a chocolate. Or, if you’re more traditionally inclined, find an old lady and help her cross the street.
There’s an interesting proverb from the Bible that says “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Of course we don’t act compassionately for selfish gain, but I love the fact that some things are written into the fabric of the universe, almost like a physical law. If you’re kind, it will go well with you. If you’re cruel, you’ll end up destroying yourself.
So if you want to live longer, then as a leader – hang, as a person – don’t forget to build in compassion and kindness into your day. But more importantly, do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Have you done something kind for someone recently? How did it impact you?