World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day

Today is Friday. Not just any Friday, but one that falls on the thirteenth day of the month. And not just any Friday the 13th, but one that occurs on an already “eventful” year, 2020. I know it’s easy to point out that in a year with so many world changing events, this day may carry more attention, and I don’t disagree; today is November 13, 2020, or more specifically, World Kindness Day.

Stress can affect our health can affect our health in many ways, and this includes our eyes, (such as decreased vision associated with central serous chorioretinopathy). In a year where it is easy to react quickly with big emotions, it may be a great opportunity to remind us to slow down and stop following our ego but take a moment to pause and with a little more love.

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“A SINGLE ACT OF KINDNESS THROWS OUT ROOTS IN ALL DIRECTIONS, AND THE ROOTS SPRING UP AND MAKE NEW TREES”
- Amelia Earhart



The other night, I caught my daughter pointing our ipad towards the television. Not really sure what she was doing, I finally asked her what she was doing after noticing that she really wasn’t paying attention to anything in particular but really concentrating on holding the ipad steady.

“I’m trying to record this show for mommy. She really likes it and I think she forgot it was on.”

Awestruck at this abundance of love, I really didn’t have any words and just watched her kindness in action. What struck me was her show of kindness for her mother made me feel pretty amazing, and this action wasn’t even for me. That is the potential of kindness. It just can’t help but grow.

So, where do we start?

In our office, one big concept is to make sure that we take care of ourselves first. If we are to help our patients, we have to make sure that we have the right mindset, an open heart and the energy to help with unconditional love. (Studies have showed a benefit of self-compassion and improved physical health1).

Today, start with showing yourself kindness. Sure, you can treat yourself to your favourite morning-mocha-frap-whatever but let yourself understand that you really deserve that drink. In fact, why start there? Find that moment before the day speeds up and spend time with yourself and just breathe in and feel that warmth of “you are amazing, strong, capable of health, and full of love” feeling that starts in your heart. Inhale to give it life. Exhale to let it grow.

You deserve this time with yourself and what a wonderful person to set aside time with.

Then throughout the day try to see the day with a smile. That in itself may affect others, just because…

If you want to take that kindness to an extra level here are some fun ideas that I randomly drew from the Kindness for Kids (https://www.growupgood.com) deck. (For added incentive the act of kindness seems to help us live longer2!

  1. Make someone laugh
  2. Listen to someone who would enjoy being heard
  3. Say to someone: “Have a great day!”

You don’t have to follow these suggestions, just have fun, you may find that it isn’t so hard or so foreign to do the simple things that we may have overlooked.

“WHEN WE FEEL LOVE AND KINDNESS TOWARD OTHERS, IT NOT ONLY MAKES OTHERS FEEL LOVED AND CARED FOR, BUT IT HELPS US ALSO TO DEVELOP INNER HAPPINESS AND PEACE.”
- The 14th Dalai Lama

With the current world spinning the way it has been lately, it is easy to be forgiven if you just don’t have the time or energy or even just forget to be purposeful in today. The headlines remind us of our stresses. But if you do want to try, to find a place to start, then maybe Friday, November 13, 2020, is a great day to fill with kindness. You never know just who you may help.

Hansel M Huang, OD, FCOVD
Executive Board Member of Vision Therapy Canada
Director/Trustee Executive Board of Optometric Extension Program Foundation


References

  1. Kristin JH and Fuschia MS. Self-compassion and physical health: Exploring the roles of perceived stress and health-promoting behaviors. Health Psychol Open. 2017 Jul-Dec; 4(2).
  2. Michael, JP, Stephanie LB, Amanda JD and Dylan MS. Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality. Am J Public Health. 2013 September; 103(9): 1649–1655.

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