Well­ness

Be­ing kind is con­ta­gious.

Good - - CONTENTS - with Rachel Grun­well Rachel is a mum, marathoner, writer and yoga teacher. in­spired­health.co.nz @in­spired­healthand­fit­ness In­spiredHealthNZ

The guide to giv­ing and be­ing kind this sea­son

Giv­ing back to oth­ers and be­ing kind is con­ta­gious. Share kind­ness and it will grow. The per­son who re­ceives a kind ges­ture ‘catches’ the good vibes and is then in­spired to spread these pos­i­tive feel­ings fur­ther. Giv­ing back and be­ing kind up­lifts your hap­pi­ness lev­els too. I’ve been speak­ing at some well­ness events re­cently, in­spir­ing Ki­wis with tips on health and hap­pi­ness. A piece of the ‘hap­pi­ness puz­zle’ is giv­ing back and be­ing kind. Not only does kind­ness make us and oth­ers feel good, stud­ies have demon­strated that the psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of kind­ness are ac­tu­ally re­flected in the neu­ral cir­cuitry of the brain en­hanc­ing feel­ings of well­be­ing and the flow of feel-good en­dor­phins.

So don’t let cau­tion get in the way. It’s nor­mal to feel cau­tious about lend­ing a hand. You may be con­cerned that some peo­ple may want more time, or re­sources, than you wish to gift. My ad­vice is to choose a way to give that res­onates with you.

Give on your terms. Never let your mo­ti­va­tion be that you want some­thing in re­turn. Re­mem­ber that even the small­est ges­tures can mean a lot and have a rip­ple e ect. Can you re­call an oc­ca­sion when some­one helped you in some small way? Like o er­ing you a seat on a bus, or car­ry­ing your bag? This can re­lease feel-good hor­mones and make you smile.

Con­sider ways to help. It may be help­ing a friend, fam­ily mem­ber, work col­league, your com­mu­nity, a school, char­ity, or even a stranger. It can be transparent or be­hind the scenes.

Do some­thing ‘just be­cause’. I be­came more at­tuned to the im­por­tance of giv­ing back af­ter I be­came a par­ent. I wish for my kids to be kind. One way to teach them is to lead by ex­am­ple. I have a young fam­ily, I’m busy with my own busi­ness and have a to-do list that never seems to end. But I make time to be a vol­un­tary am­bas­sador for the Achilles In­ter­na­tional New Zealand char­ity, which helps dis­abled ath­letes in run­ning events.

Dur­ing the years, I’ve helped dis­abled ath­letes through many fun-runs, half-marathons and marathons.

I have a pile of race medals by my bed­side in a draw. I call these ‘dream to­kens’. Each medal holds in­cred­i­ble shared mem­o­ries of strug­gles, tri­umphs and some­times joy­ful tears.

I’ll next help blind Auck­land run­ner Ta­mati Pearse through the New York Marathon in Novem­ber. I will be part of a team that guides Ta­mati among 50,000 run­ners, us­ing a guide rope and ver­bal cues. I’ll make sure he has enough wa­ter and fuel, that each step is safe, and it’s done at a mon­i­tored pace.

I’ll de­scribe ev­ery­thing I see to him. I know the sounds of 100,000 mov­ing arms and legs, and al­most three mil­lion sup­port­ers cheer­ing him on will fuel mo­ments of magic. Be­ing part of this New York team helps me ex­pe­ri­ence more than words can de­scribe. I share a pas­sion for run­ning and so I deeply con­nect with this char­ity and this com­mu­nity.

Ta­mati and the rest of the team in­spire me with their can-do at­ti­tudes. They teach me that any bar­ri­ers we face in life are only the ones we truly set our­selves. And to do any­thing in life, it’s about find­ing your own unique way.

The Achilles char­ity has be­come like a fam­ily to me. I care about every­one in­volved and love it when each mem­ber is suc­cess­ful at reach­ing their goals and dreams. I can’t help all the mem­bers of this char­ity all of the time, but I can help some­times. That can mean some­thing to some­one else and it gives me a mean­ing­ful pur­pose, too.

I spoke re­cently via Skype with Amer­i­can-based Orly Wahba, au­thor of the Kind­ness Boomerang book. She says: “You see the beauty in oth­ers and in your­self with kind­ness”. She also says that kind­ness can “leave an im­print in your heart”. It’s her dream to make kind­ness ‘trend­ing’. She be­lieves every­one has the power to make a di er­ence. What­ever you do mat­ters, some­times pro­foundly so.

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