Kindness as Chemical Fix

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Kindness can stomp out stress or sadness much like pain killers wipe away headaches. Luckily we can increase our kindness quotient to ensure we avoid chemical toxins and amp up emotional and mental health.

Kindness becomes a chemical mood changer when it leaves another person more appreciated and ourselves more victors, rather than victims.

To complete the following survey, and score our kindness quotient, number on a blank page from 1 to 20. Record 1 point for each correct survey item. Score items from answer key at the end. If our score is less than 20 points on the Kindness Survey, then we can try a few strategies offered here to exchange one kinder solution for a past unkind response that lowered our score.

1. Do you tend to jump in with an angry response if somebody hurts your feelings? If you answered Yes to a knee-jerk reaction, you’ll be interested to know that kindness is a better choice. We can rejuvenate our brains by stepping beyond unkind reactions for the sake of care or compassion. When asked how he’d been able to stay happily married for so long, one man said, “I decided I’d rather be together than be right, whenever we disagree.” If we make a choice for kindness and let go of the need to win an argument, we also choose to improve kinder practices in ways that increase serotonin, our brain’s kindness chemical.

2. Does our approach to conflicts inspire others around us to transform their own stressors into shared solutions? If we answered No to inspiring others, we can remind ourselves that healthy relationships rely on generous gifts of frequent forgiveness. Benevolence moves easier through a conduit of pardon, than competition.

3. Would well-being describe our daily state in spite of others’ challenges? Good news, Even if we answered No to fairly regular states of well being, all is not lost. We can laugh, care, give, walk, play, eat well, or serve, as a sure-fire path back to serotonin chemical reboots that spread positive change.

4. Does anger, fear, or frustration fuel reactions when bullying confronts us? If we answered Yes to an angry response to a bully, we resemble many who don’t do well when we feel our space is invaded, our autonomy robbed, or our actions misunderstood. Instead, why not step back, breathe or focus on a fun event to shift moods? At a less confrontational moment, why not ask bullies what they’d do to prevent their amygdala from flaring or defaulting back to past negative reactions. Kindness chemicals work best when we share ideas at a non-confrontational meeting or reflective round-table, and well before people get too upset.

5. Would venting describe us much of the time when glitches occur? If we answered Yes to venting about problems, why not communicate goodwill – on the other side of a controversial issue? Good tone is an awesome tool to build goodwill with those who disagree. We simply respect the other side – and chase a common solution in empathetic actions such as:

  • Affirm another person’s insights – even before sharing views on the other side. Not that we have to agree, or even value other views especially. Yet tone shows that we heard, considered and valued the person who holds different views.
  • Thank people for different approaches – and show how we will try a few new methods based on what we’ve learned from their approach.
  • Share personal experiences – with humility, so that others will enjoy thinking about these together. Rather than a need to replace original ideas present new ideas as possibilities.
  • Ask a 2-footed question about problems such as ending poverty – before we offer personal ideas on the topic. For instance, we could ask – “Have you thought about…? What if…? Could another possibility be…?

6. Do we try new projects and learn new skills on a regular basis? If we answered No or admit to a lack of newness, why not risk a renewed solution today? We could learn a new technology program, or start an interactive blog to share ideas on a new project. We may even invite a social media expert to facilitate online skills that build kinder comments online as people grow skills together.

7. Does music lift our moods and interject kindness with fun? If we answered No to music benefiting kinder chemicals, test different background tunes at work today, and compare effects. Consider how music puts us in touch with our inner beliefs  and hear tunes that improve focus, relaxation and fun at work. Toss out  of our playlist tunes that make us moody, edgy and anxious. See how kindness gains momentum when music shifts  brain waves to control how neurons talk to one another.

8. Do we tend to talk more than engage and listen carefully? If we answered Yes to listen and engage more, we likely ask questions that will generate great exchange of ideas on our topic. If we need more kindness through listening skills why not invite a round-table discussion over lunch? Consider the role kinder facilitators  play in mind-bending creative initiatives with winning results for all.

9. Do old or stubborn routines kill kindness incentives or keep us emotionally exhausted? If we answered Yes to having a hard time moving on, we may be stuck in a basal ganglia storehouse in our brains, where unkind reactions may be stored there over time. Why not approach one routine differently today? Even if we grab a coffee for a person we dislike, or ask a question to a person we ignored in past. Perhaps we could suggest during a team meeting, that people  share their best strategies to solve a shared problem that would ensure kindness grows stronger in our team.

10. Is diversity lacking or do unkind comments prevent acceptance or equity in our day? If we answered Yes to diversity’s poor outcomes, we are not alone. Interesting new research shows that diversity helps in any workplace – but rarely in ways training suggests. Compare how race, gender and other social distinctions foster more thinking and better results, inspiring groups to mix it up.

11. Do we feel cranky or on edge through lack of sleep? If we answered Yes, here are a few ways to improve sleep so that kind comes easier than cranky.

How we sleep alters brain waves that favor kindness within its chemical and electrical activity. For instance, when serotonin chemicals are released during the day, sleep follows better at night.

In contrast, the stress hormone cortisol is released in dangerous doses of edginess if we sustain stress in our lives. Most agree that crankiness can be caused by poor sleeping habits, lack of restful priorities, too little sleep, and lack of reflection that helps us grow better sleep practices. The opposite is also true. Calm sleep offers us mental agility we need to choose kinder reactions.

12. Does learning to show kinder reactions help us on a regular basis? If we answered No to opportunities for kinder reactions, do consider the fact that kindness begins with self. We are often our own worst critic. Instead attach or hook one personal experience to any part of a difficult moment where you expressed kindness. That moment likely holds lessons about how kindness increases. Learning may stop in broken systems, yet our brains can be invigorated daily for kindness dividends.

13. Do ruts or routines define most activity with few chances for kindness as we see it? If we answered Yes to ruts and routines at work, why not repeat one kind gesture a few times today to embed innovation and tender reactions into our basal ganglia?

14. Are others rewarded more for their kindness than we are?  If we answered Yes to a lack of recognition for our kind responses, chances are we are ignoring our many unique intelligences as tools. Let’s be more creative here to see how that every kind act comes with its own well-being reward.  Why not deliberately do one kind action  from each of our 8 intelligences over the next week.

15. Does cynicism prevent our kindness, or stomp out its innovative benefits? If we answered Yes to cynical drawbacks why not create something that celebrates kindness. Develop talents we enjoy and we also inspire others beyond cynicism. Consider kinder tactics to build on creativity and curiosity rather than succumb to cynical opposites.

16. Is focus our typical trait when new challenges appear to disrupt kindness? If we answered No to focus, we likely nod more toward frantic defenses, than caring exchanges. Create a caring to-do list, by jotting down a few opportunities to insert kinder reactions for a specific challenge we expect to face. To uptick kindness, our brain literally chooses focus over frantic as a way we trigger kinder words or careful body language.

17. Does encouragement change the chemistry of our brains through raised serotonin for kinder ways? If we answered No to an atmosphere of support,  we can do the opposite of bad moods today. Watch emotional intelligence kick in with a chemical fix for a gentler day. Actions such as generosity grow intrapersonal intelligence for ourselves, and they also inspire others, through mirror neurons  to do the same.

18. Do we integrate  hard and soft skills to solve personal problems with kinder solutions? If we answered No to accurate integration of personal skills such as the ability to apologize or forgive, we will especially appreciate brain based smart skills. Serotonin is a bit like watching a miracle kindness drug at work, since situations blow up and serotonin chemicals help us to create calm.  At times called a molecule of happiness, serotonin supports the best hard or soft skills, combining these two into smart skills.

19. Do we look at problems with kinder solutions in mind If we answered No, why not compare kind and cranky reactions. For example, display a large T chart on a bulletin board or wall. Then write a problem we face across the top of the T. Scribble in a kind solutions by listing them on the left side of the T. Suggest unkind past solutions observed in the right side of the T.

20. Is our gender equally equipped in ways that optimize kindness? If you answered No to consider men’s and women’s brains in balance today. Given differences that both genders demonstrate intellectually how can both genders benefit by giving and receiving more kindness?

Correct answers for high kindness quotient score below, guide us to express kindness never before attempted by using parts of our brains never before used to increase chemicals of care.

1). Yes – is the correct answer to give you a point for survey numbers – 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

2). No – is the correct answer to give you a point for survey numbers – 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15

Give yourself one point for every correct answer so that you have a kindness quotient of ?/20. Then go back to survey items you marked wrong and try one of the suggestions made in the survey or in research links to activate more kindness in that specific situation. Try one a day to exchange toxic or unkind reactions to show kindness, even when we disagree.

How many of these brain related solutions would remove cynical and cranky toxins from our lives? How could we attain healthier outcomes because we find new ways to insert more kindness into our daily reactions?

In the book Caustic Colleagues, see how to cope with unkind and toxic co-workers.

Or try out 11 opposites to cynicism as you:

1. Target agreement is disagreeable settings.
Reboot brainpower through growth surveys.
Offer fresh perspectives to time worn terms.
Check out cynical results and name their outcomes.
Replace meta-messages with genuine words
Practice opposites of a cynical mind in daily chunks
Choose peace over battles when solving conflicts.
Suggest fresh solutions from broken traditions.
Learn tactics to keep calm under pressure.
. Expect bullies who wire brains for cynicism
Learn to let cynicism go in favor of growth.

Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset

This tool is available on my TpT site

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