The Power of Kindness
A recent article published in Frontiers in Psychology adds to the growing body of literature on the impact of kindness on health. Conducted by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, the study explores whether a parent-child kindness curriculum had the potential to improve resilience and empathy levels. Not only did the curriculum increase empathic pro-social behavior levels in the children, as reported by the parents, it also increased the levels of resilience among the parent cohort. In a summary of the study, Neuroscience News points out, “both resilience and empathy require cognitive skills like responding well to stressors or considering different perspectives.”
Both the parent and the child benefited from parent participation in online kindness modules and corresponding kindness activities that were integrated into parent interactions with their children. In this study, all parents were mothers and children were toddlers, ages 3 to 5. The five online modules included 1) overview, 2) kindness to others, 3) kindness to self, 4) kindness to animals, and 5) kindness to nature. Each module included corresponding kindness activities for the parent to do with their child, like walking through a park to identify “gifts from nature,” or putting bowls of water outside for animals and seeing which animals come to the water daily.
Resilience is likely a beneficial component in mental health and substance use recovery. The general wellness benefits of kindness contributed to the content in a new recovery toolbox. As part of our WinR program at CAS, we have developed, Journey to Wellness, that includes kindness as a wellness activity called “Do Good.” This Guide was developed by and for people in recovery as a self-help tool. The resource is free to download. Spreading kindness like confetti seems a good thing for all.
Johnson, M. T., Fratantoni, J. M., Tate, K., & Moran, A. S. (2022). Parenting with a kind mind: Exploring kindness as a potentiator for enhanced brain health. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.
Mantica, G. (2022, April 11). The power of kindness in improving brain health. Neuroscience News.
Rudzinski, K., McDonough, P, Gartner, R., & Strike, C. (2017). Is there room for resilience A scoping review and critique of substance use literature and its utilization of the concept of resilience. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 12, 41.
Yaugher, A., Keady, T., Parkhurst, E., Campbell, E., & Brown, M. (2020, September 21). How building resilience helps prevent substance use. Utah State University Extension.
Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies.