This is one of my favourite pictures of my children, it shows the strong bond they have, and the kindness they (usually!) show each other One of the most important lessons I want them to learn as they grow up is kindness
Some of my most vivid and beautiful memories from travelling the world have involved random acts of kindness from total strangers, and it's inspired me to try live my life by the same philosophy, and teach my kids to do the same We're far from perfect, but keeping kindness as a goal means you'll always end up heading in the right direction
Kindness actually makes you live longer - when you are kind it releases a hormone called oxytocin (the 'love hormone'), which is a powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory compound It's the same hormone that is released when mothers give birth and breastfeed, as well as when people fall in love It creates a feeling of calm, attachment, and elation, and actually reduces stress hormones. It also creates social bonds, improves sleep, and reduces cravings (its been used as an antidote to drug withdrawal) Oxytocin also releases hormones that protect the heart, reduce blood pressure and even prevents ageing (by protecting your telomeres - the end of your DNA molecules) - which makes total sense when you think that chronic loneliness increases the risk of all of these And the best thing is - it's totally free!!!
I love the idea of a kindness challenge - try think of one new way to be kind to someone each day, and challenge your friends and family to do the same - its a habit you'll never regret :-)