Kindness boosts cognitive health, new study suggests

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kindness-boosts-cognitive-health(NaturalHealth365)  Kindness has the power to change the world, change hearts, end arguments, and now, apparently, change the brain.  New research from the University of Texas at Dallas has found that practicing and teaching kindness at home improves children’s empathy and the parents’ resilience.

This, in turn, enhances the brain of the person who performs a kind deed and everyone who lives in the same household.

Recent study reveals kindness changes cognitive function

In the study, the researchers put 38 moms through an online kindness training program with their children ranging from three to five years old to teach parents how to engage in interactions with their children in brain-healthy, practical ways, especially in stressful times.

Scientists found that doing acts of kindness can actually improve a person’s cognitive function.  Strengthening empathy and resilience allowed study participants to use a different set of cognitive skills, including evaluating diverse views and responding well to stressors.

Acts of kindness in the COVID era are more important than ever before

Experts recommend that parents practice self-kindness, especially during times of stress.  Modeling this for children can boost the parents’ resilience and improve the prosocial behaviors of the child.

The brain is a marvelous, complex organ that is the hub for so many things in the body.  Practicing kindness can change the brain and improve brain health, enhancing the entire body’s health.

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So, what acts of kindness can you do during the COVID era to boost your brain health?  Here’s a little inspiration:

  • Send positive messages.  Whether you send them on handwritten notecards, via email, or publish them on social media for all the world to see, positive messages are a little act of kindness that costs nothing but goes a long way.
  • Be a good neighbor.  Do you know your neighbor?  If not, get out and meet them.  Reach out and help them when you can.  Talk to them, listen to them, and help when they need a hand.  If you have elderly neighbors or single-parent neighbors, or anyone who lives alone, check on them and let them know they can call on you if they need help.
  • Set aside dedicated family time.  Whether you have a houseful of children or you and your spouse are empty nesters, set aside time to spend together as a family.  Read to the kids, have dinner with your spouse, and invite grown kids over for a family game night.  It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it together and focus on fostering those relationships in a device-free, distraction-free environment.
  • Put down your cell phone.  One of the kindest things you can do is put down your phone.  People miss so many opportunities because they are focused on their phones instead of the people around them.  Look up.
  • Smile at a stranger.  You never know when your smile will change a person’s mood or day.  It’s easy and free; just smile.
  • Tell someone they are doing a good job.  That bedraggled mother with the crying baby, the harried cashier who just dealt with a rude customer, the tired teacher who has been dealing with a roomful of kids all day, just let them know that they are doing a good job.  Those six words – you are doing a good job  –  can change the world for so many people.  But, unfortunately, that isn’t said nearly enough.
  • Write a letter or volunteer your time.  For example, you can join a group like, Senior Angels and write letters to the elderly who live alone or in care facilities.  It is a little act of kindness that can change a person’s outlook.

Find acts of kindness that you can do with your children and make it a regular part of your weekly or daily routine.  Set goals, share stories, but most of all, make it FUN.

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