#thoughtfulthursday 47: Heal with kindness

When a loved one is sick, you can feel a bit helpless. You want to make things better for them, but aren’t sure what to do. But you can do something very important for them – be kind.

“Your kindness can act as a medicine. Research has revealed that people shown kindness experience faster healing wounds, less pain and anxiety, reduced blood pressure and shorter hospital stays. Best of all, kindness has healing properties for both the giver and the receiver, so it will benefit you too.” Jaime Thurston, Kindness: the little thing that matters most

Two years ago I received the upsetting news that my brother had stage 4 cancer. I distinctly remember the feeling of shock and complete helplessness as I grappled with the news. Thankfully, we found out that he had a form of cancer that often responded well to treatment. But it would require months of chemotherapy and major surgery. Overnight, my day-off priorities changed. The housework could wait; instead I would travel across London to spend some time with my brother in hospital. I know he appreciated it, and for myself I rediscovered the joy of deeper connection with my brother. Throughout that difficult time, I saw my family draw closer together and find fun and laughter in the midst of difficulty.

Kindness gives strength and courage – it gives people a reason to fight on and not give up. It can be the light in dark times and can turn challenges into opportunities to reevaluate our priorities and give time to the things that really matter. When we face difficulties with kindness, we discover they can be a blessing in disguise.

It is so important to treat people with humanity and kindness. James R. Doty’s research shows that when medical staff treat patients with kindness, patients give more accurate details of symptoms, which results in better diagnosis.

“Kindness should be viewed as an indispensable part of the healing process. After all, it’s been in
the Hippocratic Oath for over a century: ‘I will remember that… warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.'” James R. Doty, M.D., Director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

Kindness builds trust and offers hope at a time when someone might feel anxious and overwhelmed. It also gives people back a little control over their circumstances as they feel understood, cared for and loved.

Whether you are spending time with a loved one who is unwell or you work in a caring profession, your kindness does a lot to bring about and speed up recovery.


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