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How to be kind to others and to yourself

18 May 2020

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week couldn’t come at a more apt time. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown is having a big impact on many people’s mental health.

The theme chosen by the Mental Health Foundation is kindness: and being kind to ourselves and one another during these challenging times is vital.

Estelle Moore, West London NHS Trust’s Professional Lead for Psychological Services, explains the importance of kindness and ways in which we can be kind to others and ourselves:

“Kindness is a word that derives from an Old English term, ‘kyndnes’, meaning ‘nation’ or ‘produce increase’. This refined over time to include the idea of a ‘noble deed’ or ‘courtesy’ to others.

Research has shown that giving resources to others brings about wellbeing. Being in the habit of doing this regularly is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in   long-term relationships.

There are many ways to be kind: we can open our eyes and take action if we see someone in need. An act can be as small as opening a door if someone’s hands are full.

Kindness is contagious: if you see someone else offering a helping hand, you’re more likely to do the same. People remember how you make them feel more than what you say.

Kindness is good for us: it brings increased happiness, a healthy heart and slows down the ageing process.

Acting with kindness includes being kind to yourself: Do you take care of yourself? Do you speak kindly to and about yourself? Do you step away from unkind talk about others if you hear it?”

Estelle Moore is also chairing the Trust’s staff health and wellbeing workstream for Covid-19.

You can listen to Estelle Moore talking about Mental Health Awareness Week during the global pandemic on LBC and BBC Radio London.