The healthy lifestyle buzz has well and truly taken over in Ireland in recent years and it is great to see so many people out pounding the roads or the treadmills with enthusiasm, taking to the highways and byways on their bikes or hitting the yoga studio in search of their fix.
Healthier people live longer, have a better quality of life and are less of a burden on the nation’s coffers in the long run. They are also happier and the importance of happiness can never be underestimated - both physically and psychologically. It is no coincidence that the drive for physical fitness in this country is increasingly being matched by a drive to promote mental well-being.
But positive mental health doesn’t just come from feeling good about yourself, it also comes from feeling good about others too. Kindness is a commodity that went out of fashion for some time but increasingly there is a sense that people are beginning to understand the value of this lost art.
As people become more mind and body aware, they have also become more tuned into the needs of others. As social creatures, we need to not only interact with others but also to try and empathise with them and respect their points of view. We also have a natural desire to help them out when they are in need.
We need to make time for others, we need to make time for kindness - an under-appreciated, oft-dismissed value that can make a huge difference to all of us, whether we are on the giving or receiving end. Kindness is not a sign of weakness, neither is accepting kindness. Kindness is a strength built on the most basic human bond.
We can tell ourselves that the world has changed, that people are busy and that no-one has time for anyone else but it’s not true.
We are in charge of our own destinies and we must claim the time for things that are really important and that we want to be remembered for - like kindness.