By: Jennifer Hefner
HH MINDSET: ACTS OF KINDNESS
As I started preparing for this blog post, I was in my kitchen at 5am making a couple of my college players my “famous” homemade pumpkin donuts and energy protein balls. Yes, I broke all my rules of getting up before 6am- for my college gals. As I was getting out all the ingredients and listening to the beautiful sound of silence, the happiness of my heart got my attention. Here I was, up before dawn on what was going to be an extremely busy day for me, making donuts and energy balls for two girls who were BEAMING the day before when they asked me to make them these treats. And, as you can expect from me, I got tears in my eyes knowing that this little act of kindness was going to brighten their day. It is the week of midterms, which correlates to high stress for these college kids. They are five hours away from home, and all they needed in that moment was for someone to care about them and bring them a treat. They will have the best day EVER when they get these!
To back up a second, this topic was NOT what I was going to write about for this blog. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my players and what they go through in a college volleyball season. The ups and downs of victory and defeat. The 6am workouts, the blood, sweat, and tears that is required of athletes, the studying they do on the vans to be able to complete their assignments- and the magic dust required to bring a little joy to them is food! Yes, that act of kindness that makes all their stress and anxiety disappear for a few minutes when they get a little treat that has been made just for them.
Last weekend I made a couple of new soups to try. Both our daughters were home from college, their boyfriends were over, and I thought they would be great taste testers. And they are so honest about their likes and dislikes of any of my dishes, so I knew I could count on them. And believe me, after they eat in the cafeteria all week, they will try anything homecooked. And as expected, I received excellent reviews, except from Shea. She is much more critical, as she usually lives off Chick fila- and who can compete with Chick fila!?! But I don’t take offense to this as I love Chick fila too!
With this, I decided to share my soups with my in-laws. And I will put it out there, my father-in-law never holds back either with his reviews, lol!!! Yes, I must put “lol” because he is such a great guy and so funny. I love to hear his reviews because they are just so honest. And as I expected they loved the soups! Both soups had ingredients I knew they liked so I figured both would be a hit. But more than that I was just happy to take them a little taste of fall and brighten their day.
As we are always working on our MINDSET, what better way to continue then with acts of kindness. As referenced by the website www.aifc.com, performing acts of kindness positively affects us personally in many areas:
· Pain- kindness releases endorphins in the brain. It’s a natural painkiller.
· Stress- kind people age slower and have less stress than the average person.
· Anxiety & Depression- kindness improves mood, depression, and anxiety. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which heals wounds, calms and increases happiness.
· Blood Pressure- kindness helps release oxytocin, a ‘cardio protective’ hormone that releases another chemical called ‘nitric oxide’ in the body that dilates blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure.
· Pleasure-elevated levels of dopamine in the brain causes pleasure/reward centers to light up. This is known as the ‘helpers high.’
Kindness also improves our self-worth as well as our relationships. So think about ways you can incorporate this important act into your healthy mindset journey. Think about the ways you have grown and improved in all the areas of mindset, movement, and nutrition. Share the knowledge you have gained with a family member, friend, or coworker. Not only will you be leading them to a healthier lifestyle, but the act of kindness will also benefit you.
Obviously, food is a love language for many people. Prepare one of our healthy recipes from our app and share it with someone. This is a great way to start conversation with a friend and you can tell them about your journey. Think about an older person who doesn’t get out much- bring some joy to their day. Or take a healthy dish to work and get your coworkers started on a new health journey.
Another act of kindness is to invite someone to take a walk or go on a day trip to hike. Invite others to get moving! You might be the one person who inspires someone’s health journey. Ask someone to go to the gym with you or to a yoga class. Think about how you got started, for many of us it was inspiration from a friend or acquaintance. This small act of kindness might change someone’s life, and in the process, you will also benefit from it. Go clean for someone! Not only are they getting a chore taken care of, but you are also getting exercise at the same time. Recently I have been trying to send some greeting cards in the mail to friends and family. Think about how you can brighten their day just with a simple card and a little note.
As you go on with your week, I challenge you to get out their and exercise kindness! You will be changing our community for the good, and in return you will reap the benefits of a healthier mindset. Your act might be the beginning of a new life for someone you care about or even a random person. But either way, change only occurs with kindness and positivity. And your mindset will thank you in the process!
~Jennifer Hefner, HH Mindset Coach