The Benefits of Kindness: Reflections from our PSHE group

This week, we hear from our PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) Tutor, Mrs Bullock, who has been looking with her class at how being kind to others can benefit your own mental health. Here is what they learned...

As we face ongoing disruption from the global pandemic it is important to try to stay as positive as we can, even through the difficult days.  In PSHE last month, students carried out an experiment to find out how being kind to others can actually help our own self-esteem and well-being, as well as that of those around us. 

Having learnt about the “Science of Happiness” and “Positive Psychology” during the lesson, students discussed how focusing on the positive and being grateful for the small pleasures in life, however simple, can really help us to feel less overwhelmed, and more likely to be able to cope with pain and difficulty.  This could be something really simple like enjoying your favourite sandwich for lunch, hearing a song you love on the radio, or receiving a happy text from a friend.  If you learn to find meaning and joy in such every-day events, you should find that you spend more of your time feeling uplifted, which in turn will help you to deal with the less positive experiences, such as illness or loss. 

The homework task was to apply this idea to help lift someone else’s spirits, and at the same time give our own well-being a boost.  Students were asked to recognise the strengths in another person, such as having a lovely smile or being good at something, and to complement them on this.  Students had to feedback the outcome of the experiment, by recording how it made both them and the other person feel.  Here are some of the findings: 

“I felt happy, elated and satisfied”

“It lifted their spirits”

“I will do this again in the future because it made others happy which made me feel happy”

“This was positive as I made a difference to someone else’s life as well as my own”

“It made them feel more themselves”

“I helped them.  I like to help”

“I felt good about myself because I knew I’d made them happy”

“I will do it again as it will help everyone to get on better”

Suffice to say, making others feel good about themselves seems to be one of the nicest gifts you can give, and gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, knowing that you’ve made a positive difference to how someone is feeling.  Our students said they will definitely be repeating the experience again soon!