In commemoration of World Kindness Day, Nov. 13, KS Hawai‘i Kahu Kaunaloa Boshard KSK'77 shares his mana‘o on kindness and its many health benefits.
“Aloha” and “Mahalo” are powerful affirming words of kindness that just seem to roll out of my mouth whenever I am near others. Everywhere I go, these words are my constant companions. Why? These are the words of encouragement that I grew up with as a keiki in our home.
Nā Solomona or Proverbs 12:25 teaches “Anxious fear brings depression, but a life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.” My mākua lived with the spirit of generosity and their acts of compassion helped people get out of the poverty of loneliness. They taught our church community to be selfless supporters of people in need, by using words of love to transform areas within our kaiaulu that were entrenched in darkness into habitats of light and forgiveness. Personally, their modeling of kindness seemed to cure everything.
Everything you say, Kahu? What about my physical and mental health, can kindness cure this? Research has shown that acts of kindness can improve one’s overall mood. This blessing of a positive attitude decreases cortisol a hormone that helps the body maintain healthy blood pressure levels, regulates blood sugar, controls metabolism, and reduces inflammation. In other words, don’t worry, be happy!
Other scientific data supports that showing compassion improves our brain health by boosting serotonin and dopamine which are neurotransmitters that support our feelings of satisfaction. When we are joyful our body begins to release endorphins, which are crucial to reducing pain in our body while boosting our happiness.
Need more scriptural evidence? The Apostle Paul sends this reassuring message to a community whose worldly patterns of gossip and backbiting needed correction, he writes, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” Living out this strategy aligns us with Jesus' character of letting go of the hurts through forgiveness, a deeper form of kindness. Showing mercy to others puts our faith into action and frees us from a thought life riddled with despair and regret.
Friends, there are numerous ways to show genuine compassion to others without having to break the proverbial piggy bank. Use kind words in private and public settings, open doors for others, and invite others to stand in front of you while in the checkout line. These small gestures of goodness will not only cheer up the people you are serving but also saturate your body with a blessing of increased endorphins. Do you desire to include your ‘ohana in this adventure? Volunteer at a local organization or church that has a COVID-safe certified feeding program for those in need of fellowship and food. Kindness may not cure everything, but it certainly shares the love of Jesus in you with others.
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