Every year a word chooses me. It somehow beckons me to live into or become more of it. One just pops into my head, almost like I never heard of it before my response is always something like, “oh, what are you all about?” It also comes along with some curiosity, intrigue or wonder. The word is never really a surprise. It often has something to do with what was in my way or holding me back the prior year. My word for 2014 is kindness. Kindness is one of those magical concepts like love and gratitude. They seem to have the ability to alter our mind states.
Have you ever tried it? Been in a bad mood and then do something generous or kind to someone. It’s an instant day brightener for me.
Trained as a somatic coach (working with the whole self “SOMA” and paying close attention to the body) I am always curious about the different psychobiological effects of different states of being. What this means is that different emotional states inform the body that something distinct is happening. Our bodies then begin to organize themselves for what that is. Kindness, and one of the major ways to demonstrate kindness, affection, informs the body it is safe and we can relax. From a relaxed state, we are open to new possibilities and we can see more choices and better our future.
[Tweet “kindness has a positive effect on our immune system.”]
What I recently discovered was that kindness has a positive effect on our immune system as well! Which of course makes sense to me given what I know about its effects on our nervous system. A study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that people whose happiness stems from being good to others have less active inflammatory genes and more active antiviral genes which add up to a stronger immune system.
You know what I am going to with information? Along with exercising four days a week and drinking my daily super green smoothie, I am adding one Daily Unexpected Act of Kindness to my wellness routine. How about you?