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the RELATIONSHIP dance WITH VICKI MINERVA “Always be kind… for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” T he exact author of this quote isn’t known, but it turns out they were on to something. It’s not just a nice sentiment; it really can change things, for others as well as for you. We now know that there are chemical changes in the bodies of both the giver and receiver when kindness is extended. Our bodies are intricately put together with biology affecting mood and mental health. Specific to our topic of kindness is the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus. It’s known to play a role in childbirth, breast-feeding, sexual activity, social, and emotional bonding. In positive social settings it can promote relaxation, trust and psychological stability. As it turns out, acts of kind- ness are one of the ways that oxytocin is released into the blood stream and the “emotional warmth” response opens up. In his book, “The 5 Side Effects of Kindness,” David Hamilton identifies the benefits of putting kindness into action: and reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation. This is helpful to the cardiovascular system and for the aging process. There is also a link between compassion and activation of the vagus nerve that regulates inflammation. • Kindness improves relationships. As we demonstrate kindness, distance is broken down and emotional bonding occurs. More on that later. • Kindness is contagious. Acts of kind- ness inspire others to “pay it forward.” This is where it becomes possible to change the culture of families, com- munities, schools, and businesses. So let’s start with you. Based on my experience, you are likely to be the MOST unkind to yourself. You may think those harsh, berating things you say in your head are motivating. In truth, they are discouraging, activate your fight or flight response, and don’t bring out the best in you. When you • Kindness makes us happier. In can slow the anxiety and pressure you addition to oxytocin, dopamine is feel by changing some of what you say released which is our brain’s version to yourself, you’re much more likely to of morphine and heroin creating a have the bandwidth to take it to the next natural high. There’s also a change at step to show empathy and kindness to a spiritual level that gives a profound others. I know, easier said than done, but sense of identity by being kind. being conscious of it is the first step and gives you a place to interrupt what has • Kindness is good for the heart. previously been free-flowing negativity. Literally. Oxytocin releases a chemical, Now is a good time to start! nitric oxide in the blood vessels. Gratitude is an important segue to This dilates the blood vessels and showing kindness to others. It helps us reduces blood pressure. It softens the to line up our own value system. With walls of the arteries and improves gratitude, you begin to see where there cardiovascu ȁѠ)̃q՝tɕ́ȁ5+%-́ͱ́)Ёɕѥаͼԁȁѥ)ѥ݅ɵѠɽՍ́ѽٽչѕɥݥѠɽѡЁ)хЁѼԸUѕɅ͔)ɵѥͻeЁЁЁ)ͽѡЁɔхٕȸ) ͔Ѽ͕ѡ́ɔ)ɕљձ丁%ӊéЁѼ͕ѡ)յ́ɹݥѠ́ݸ)ݥ́ɹ̸Í)́ͽѡԁ)ݡȁݸх́ͻeЁЁх)1ЁͽɝѼȁݡ)Ʌ́䰁ɕհݥѠȁѽ)ݡѼѡ̰ٔͽ)ѡЁѡՉЁݡѡ䁅ɕe)Ёѡȁаɕɥԁe)܁ݡЁͽɑѡ䁵䁉)她)QɗéՅɅѕѡЁݥ)ɕݕѼȁ̸)݅丁QٕɅɍɕٕ)ѥݥѡЁͽѕи)Qݥ䁥Ё݅ɐQձɔ)ȁȁݽɭݥѼ)ձѽѡȁѕͽѥ)ͥٔ-́́)ѡЁѡɔɕeЁɽхѥ)ȁхɑ̰Ёѡ݅ѡ䁅ɔ)ɕ͕́ɕаЁͅѼ)ЁЁѡȁ%)́ѡȁѼͅͽ٥ɽ)ЁݥѠȁٕ́и)eȁѣQ䰁ɥ)́Ёݡ́́݅䁽)%ӊéͼ݅Ѽѡݽɱ)ѕȁ)Y5لٕ́)ݽɭѡ)MѠ չ䁅ɕ)5ɥ)QɅЁȁٕȀ)啅̸!ȁՍѥ)Ց́4ظɕ)ɽձȁM䁅)45ɥ) չ͕ɽ)Mф ɄUٕͥ)٥ل)5䁝́Ѽɽ٥ԁݥѠͽɵѥԁ́ѽ́ѡЁݥԁٔȁȁɕѥ́͡ѡȁ̸݅)Q́ɵѥ́ЁՉѥєȁͽչ͕͡ձЁхЁѕиQɔɔɕхѡɅ́ѡMѠ չ䁅ɕ͡ձԁѥ)%1I=d5=I8!%10M85IQ%8))U9)U1d)ѽ乍(