Monday, November 3, 2008

It is More Than Just Contagious!

Luke 6:38 Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 ...always try to be kind to each other and everyone else.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people...

Did you know that as many as 500 scientific studies demonstrate not only the truth of these words but that by being kind and helping others you enhance your own health as well! We are created to feel good and live longer by imitating our Father as we "live to give" and help others.

Research was done monitoring the brains of people as they made decisions to donate time or money to a worthy cause. The MRI's revealed that the same area of their brains that would be activated in response to positive stimuli (like receiving a gift) was activated by their decision to give of themselves in some way. Their brains actually produced feel-good chemicals, endorphins, in response!

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit that is already part of our spiritual makeup just as skin and bones are part of our physical makeup. We have to be intentional about exercising it. Spiritual qualities are very similar to physical muscles in that we have to make a point of using them in order to strengthen and develop them. Just as you have to schedule time to exercise on purpose, you have to keep your eyes open to the opportunities all around you to exercise kindness on purpose.

The old axiom "it is better to give than to receive" is actually very true physically as well as spiritually. Consider some of the benefits the "giver" receives:

Decreased feelings of depression and loneliness;
Decreased intensity and awareness of pain;
Reduced negative emotions such as hostility, anger, envy;
Decreased lung constriction leading to asthma attacks; and
Reduced stress by shifting focus from yourself and your problems.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (www.actsofkindness.org) encourages people "to practice kindness and pass it on to others." Well, isn't that exactly what our Father told us in Matthew 7:12? I love the way the Message Translation puts the Golden Rule: "Here is a simple rule of thumb guide for behavior: ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them." There are wonderful "Kindness is Contagious" programs in many elementary school, including my childrens'. While I believe children should be taught these principles at home, it is wonderful to have our schools build on these principles as well.

Being kind can be as simple as smiling at a clerk, thanking a soldier for his or her sacrifice and service, making a special meal for your husband, shoveling the sidewalk for an elderly neighbor or speaking words of encouragement to a child. Being kind is simple but oh, so effective. And it's a win-win proposition - it benefits you as much as the recipient!

1 comment:

Al said...

Wow , I am really impressed with all of the work you put into this.

Keep it up