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Mindful Leadership

The Power of Kindness

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Far from being a sign of weakness or poor leadership, kindness carries with it a great strength.  There is a gentleness to kindness.  It comes from a place of stillness, inner quiet and confidence.  Kindness has the power to change the world, our world, and the world around us.

When dealing with hostility, kindness can be disarming and non threatening to others.  When dealing with the sadness, it can offer gentle encouragement and give hope. Ultimately, it signals that the other person matters. They matter enough for you to stop and notice, and to act towards them with an open heart, and they notice. That is the impact we can have on strangers, friends, and colleagues.  It is a true sign of Mindful leadership.

An often overlooked area of kindness is the impact it has when we are kind to ourselves.  We often think about it in the context of how we relate to others.  But, think of it from the point of view of being kind to yourself.  Try it and see how it feels.  In fact, you may wish to make it a habit.  When you treat yourself with kindness, it becomes much easier to authentically be kind to others.  When we are kind to ourselves, sincere kindness to others wells up spontaneously.  Ultimately, it makes us feel good, and it isn’t just in our minds.

Mary Anne Christie Burnside, a developmental psychologist, writes that”Studies show that thinking about, observing or practicing a kind act stimulates the vagus nerve, which literally warms up the heart and may be closely connected to the brain’s receptor networks for oxytocin, the soothing hormone involved in maternal bonding. Kindness also triggers the reward system in our brain’s emotion regulation center releasing dopamine, the hormone that’s associated with positive emotions and the sensation of a natural high.

Kindness—which reduces stress, anxiety and depression—can literally put us, and others, at ease. It works wonders in the relationships we have with ourselves and with everyone else, even with people we don’t know.” Here’s a link to an article on the topic of intentional acts of kindness.   http://www.mindful.org/intentional-acts-of-kindness/?utm_source=Mindful+Newsletter&utm_campaign=3cf01c3d0a-Weekly_Wakeup_Jun_6_20165_6_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d03e8c02c-3cf01c3d0a-21347677&mc_cid=3cf01c3d0a&mc_eid=d4ba0db1b0

If the science of kindness is of interest to you, you may wish to check out Dacher Keltner’s book, Born to Be Good: The Science of A Meaningful Life (published by W.W. Norton in 2009).

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