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The Power of Kindness for Mental Wellness

Rachel Lett

Chief Care Officer

COVID-19 has rattled our mental health

Unemployment, isolation, confinement, changes to work-life schedule, and sudden death of loved ones are just some of the challenges we’ve faced through this pandemic. It has taken its toll on mental health. 


COVID-19 will likely have a deep and long-term effect that goes beyond lockdown. Strategies that protect mental health will be paramount for helping us recover from coronavirus and protecting against late onset trauma.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Week and it feels more powerful than ever. 


In response to such uncertain times, Mental Health Foundation changed this year’s theme from ‘sleep’ to ‘kindness’.


Although sleep is equally important for supporting mental health, this theme change feels even more relevant given the current circumstances. During a time when we need to stay apart, kindness has a profound ability to bring us together, connect and make us feel like a community.  


Kindness improves mental health

Studies have clearly shown that kindness has the potential to increase happiness and life-satisfaction. There is no doubt that being kind can lift the spirits of those around you, but it can also boost your own mental health. A recent survey from Mental Health Foundation showed that two thirds of people feel that receiving and giving kindness has a positive effect on their wellbeing. 


When we think of kindness, we often think of it as an interaction between two or more people. You might be reminded of a loved one who calls when they know you’ve had a bad day, or a friendly neighbour who always stops and asks how you are. There is one person who you probably won’t think of, and that person is you. 


Chances are, you find it challenging to be kind to yourself — most people do. Negative, self berating thoughts can easily creep in and fill the mind. These thoughts turn the tide on our self esteem and have a dramatic effect on mental health. 


Being kind to yourself is one of the most powerful ways to boost mental health, so it’s important to listen in to the conversations you’re having with yourself and challenge that internal bully.


Begin to acknowledge these negative thoughts and ask yourself, “is this something I would say to a loved one?” Now change your mindset and think of how you would comfort a loved one who had similar thoughts and worries as you in this moment. They sound a lot kinder, don’t they!?


This is a simple, but extremely effective method for developing love and kindness towards yourself, and you can start doing it right now. 

Kindness will help you change your habits

This is one technique we employ in our behaviour change model that has helped many people achieve their goals and accomplish what they believed to be impossible. 


Our behaviour change model is fundamentally based on self love. Essentially, we teach people how to be kind to themselves.


Rather than focusing on bad behaviours or previous ‘failed’ experiences, we help you look forward to a life you want to move towards, and get excited about it. 


We remind you that you deserve to live a healthy, happy life — your best life. We build your self esteem by identifying your strengths, achievements and proud moments. 


Why is this our approach? Because developing healthy habits is infinitely easier when you believe that you are strong, capable and worthy. 


And if there are moments when your self belief wavers, then there is a friendly community, and team of healthcare professionals that will give you the world of kindness. 


For the week that’s in it, I challenge you to be a kinder to yourself. Encourage positive self talk and do more of the things you love. 


Share the love and send this with anyone who you think needs some extra support and kindness, or is struggling to change their habits.  


Let’s be kind and safeguard our mental health!


Find out more

If you’d like mental health support or wanting to change your habits, then download our mobile app on www.span.health, contact us at team@span.health , or book a consultation.

Additionally, if you're having difficulty eating healthy or feeling particularly confused and anxious about COVID-19, please feel free to reach out. We'd love to offer reassurance and support during this particularly difficult time.

Take care everyone,

Rachel

I’m sure you’re curious about the science behind all this 🔬 Here are some recent medical publications about this topic:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324811109_A_range_of_kindness_activities_boost_happiness

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2019.1663252

https://unlimitedloveinstitute.org/downloads/ITS-GOOD-TO-BE-GOOD-2014-Biennial-Scientific-Report-On-Health-Happiness-Longevity-And-Helping-Others.pdf

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/kindness-research

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