It’s evident that eating healthy and engaging in a consistent weekly exercise regime contributes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But there are also other aspects of our lives that we can adjust to help us all be happier. This includes treating each other with decency and compassion.
As we approach Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love, I’m making a call for kindness.
Lately I’ve been seeing a more heightened sense of hostility toward one another, leading to name-calling, rapid insults and threatening comments. Why are we so angry?
When we get angry, our blood pressure rises, which can lead to severe heart problems. People typically resort to anger to protect themselves from appearing vulnerable in conflicts or in troublesome situations. Getting mad never feels good, yet we rely on this basic emotion as a defense mechanism when our bodies are in distress.
Staying in this strong emotional state over a long period of time can damage relationships between friends, family members and co-workers. Plus, it can be difficult to focus on everyday tasks as confrontational situations play over and over in our minds.
Controlling our anger can help us gain a better perspective on finding ways to be kind to each other.
Social media is the most common place for people to vent their frustrations or express their opinions on trending news topics. Unfortunately, this platform also has normalized the ability to belittle others while hiding behind a screen.
If you find yourself feeling extremely upset with those who may not have the same opinion as you, perhaps it’s best to schedule some time away from social media.
Colorado is a beautiful state; take advantage of it. Taking in the sights of nature can clear your mind and relieve stress.
And don’t forget to take a few pictures while you’re on your outdoor excursion, so when you’re ready to return to social media you can post them. Your scenic photos could help uplift someone else’s spirits if they’re having a bad day.
Offline, keeping your cool can clearly be more difficult when crossing paths with someone who pushes your buttons.
The common saying, “kill them with kindness,” can be easier said than done — especially when feeling trapped in an argumentative situation that you didn’t instigate. In these instances, it is habitual to seek revenge or use other combative tactics to ensure the other person feels the same pain you’re feeling. Stop! Holding a grudge builds constant tension and evokes hatred.
If having a civil conversation is not an option, it could be time to distance yourself from this person. If it’s a family member, reach out to a family counselor to help mend unresolved issues in a neutral setting.
If you’re the one feeling constant anger or if you’re having a hard time controlling your outbursts, please seek the help of a counselor or therapist.
Emotions are contagious. Try to surround yourself with those that give you joy.
Smile more; say, “hello” to people as you walk by them; wave to your neighbors; hold the door open for others as you enter or exit a building; buy a cup of coffee for a co-worker; and take a friend out to lunch. These small actions can make a big difference in improving someone’s day and may motivate them to pass it forward.
Now, let’s spread love and shower others with kindness. The world is in dire need of it.
Stephanie Swearngin has been a nationally certified fitness professional since 2009.