Welcome to a caringmindblog written by a former carer Matthew Mckenzie in South London. As of this blog’s writing it is Mental Health Awareness Week which is Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020 and the theme this year is kindness.
The Mental Health Foundation is a charity that works to prevent and raise awareness of mental health problems.
The Mental Health Foundation works towards a mentally healthy society for all and not just for service users but also for everyone. The MHF believes we ALL can suffer varying levels of mental ill health any time of our lives.
The video version is below
The Mental Health Foundation works to place health and well-being in communities, families and individuals to live mentally healthier lives, with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.
So……why the theme of kindness this year?
Well it does not take long to work out that 2020 has been a particularly unkind year to practically everyone. With many lives around the world being not only affected by the coronavirus, but also the devastation it brings to families suffering loss, job losses, poverty and uncertainty. The theme of kindness has never before been so important.
Still, kindness is more than just being kind, there is so much more to it.
What is Kindness?
To be kind, we must understand what kindness is, even though society bombards us to be strong, be individualistic, focus on getting ahead and not having time for anyone else.
The problem is if we all begin to think like this, then it would not take long before people, families and communities ignore each other and suffer more mental low health and low well-being.
But the question remains……what is Kindness? and why practice kindness? What is in it for me? Or for us?
Being Kind is a measure of quality as in the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate to others and ourselves. Kindness should bring people together as we all have a vested interest on being happy and a feeling that we belong.
Kindness is also a strength of character and does not show weakness since its aim is linking with humanity. We do not to always have to befriend others, but at least give the opportunity to allow friendship.
Kindness can be a form of being generous and considerate, with little to no expectation of reward since a little thank you, smile or sympathy can go a long way. Especially when so many are suffering in this day and age.
Kindness can be a form of love although it should not be confused as being in love with someone. We can practice kindness in choosing others wants or needs over our own.
If one practices kindness it is a like a chain reaction as others learn from our kind acts and it spreads like a wave that keeps going. All it needs is one person to perform the kind act and that kind act can cause a ripple effect that affects the entire community.
Kindness is not always simple or automatic as it does take practice to understand and feel it. Education especially in schools should try to introduce the ideal of kindness and avoid too much focus on religion as sometimes religion can be unkind and focus on the hereafter while kindness asks what can we do NOW within the realms of humanity. Not that I have got anything against religion, but I do feel we need a healthy balance.
Kindness can also be a form of respect and helping others without waiting for someone to help one back. Kindness is not about being weak, it is about strength to give and not needing to take all the time because we feel that we have nothing or protect our ego.
Examples of Kindness
So being kind can be so many things, but how can we practice kindness in a world that we are to become distant to be safe? Here are some examples taken from The Mental Health Foundation site.
- Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
- Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
- Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
- Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
- Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
- Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
- Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
- Send an inspirational quote to a friend
- Send an interesting article to a friend
We would just like to mention a final word, if you struggle to be kind to others then at least be kind to yourself and that is a whole other blog for another day…..#KindnessMatters