There is something about the Holiday Season that just makes you happy. It is all about family and traditions, but it is also easy to get caught up in yourself and the busyness of this time of year.

That is one reason I love that Thanksgiving comes before the Christmas season! It is the perfect reminder that we first must show gratitude. It is a time to slow down, eat good food, and simply be together – no gifts or trees required!

I don’t know about you, but I am a more content person when I start with gratitude. As I think about things that can turn my weeks around, another thing came to mind…kindness!

It only takes a small act of kindness to make a big difference. When I think about difficult or busy seasons when I have been overwhelmed, I have often survived off the kindness of others. People brought meals after I had my kids. Friends sent treats when we were sick. Strangers put up my shopping cart when my hands were full. My kids told me they loved me when I was having a bad day.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much!

But the fascinating thing is that it can make an even bigger difference if YOU are the one being kind! An article by the Baton Rouge Clinic outlines eight ways that being kind can actually be good for you. It includes both physical and mental health benefits, but I want to focus on four…

Being kind increases self-esteem. Think about a time that you did something for someone else. I doubt you regret that act of kindness. In fact, it probably made you feel better about yourself for a few days. When you help someone feel better, it has the same effect on you!

Being kind boosts your mood. Being kind elevates serotonin and dopamine levels, increasing feelings of happiness, rewards, and motivation. Try an act of kindness the next time you are feeling down!

Being kind enhances your connection. When you show kindness, it is a great reminder that you are not alone. It promotes a sense of community and can help you connect in deeper, more meaningful ways.

Being kind can lower your stress. It has been found that showing kindness can actually lower the release of cortisol, a stress hormone in your body. Everyone carries stress around, but something as small as being kind to a loved one could help lighten your load!

Recently on the Teen Life Podcast, we spent some time talking about ways to encourage kindness in our teens. We gave practical ideas on how you can show kindness together. I encourage you to go give that a listen!

As we launch into one of the busiest times of the year, let’s commit to showing extra kindness – both for the benefit of others and ourselves!

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.