The Science of Kindness

One of my Childhood Idols Marie Osmond wrote this about the science of kindness:

“I have always known kindness is a gospel principle, and that it heals our hearts emotionally and spiritually—but this story proves it can even heal us physically!

In the 1970’s, researchers set up an experiment to determine the effects of diet on heart health. They used a controlled group of rabbits and fed them a high fat diet and kept track of their blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. All of the rabbits had a build up on the inside of their arteries, but one group surprised them by having 60 percent less build up than the others. Everything in their diet was the same, so they were confused as to why. The only thing they had not checked was the research staff. They found that every rabbit with fewer fatty deposits was being fed by one researcher. Although she fed them the same food, “she talked to them, cuddled and petted them… She couldn’t help it, it’s just how she was.”

She did more than feed the rabbits food, she fed them with love. Since it was so difficult for the research team to believe the rabbits we’re healthier because of kindness, they repeated the experiment. After the experiment was completed again, it showed the same thing, the loving researcher produced higher health outcomes in the rabbits she fed while being loving and kind. Years later, scientists still refer to this experiment. A book was written called The Rabbit Effect with this conclusion: “Take a rabbit with an unhealthy lifestyle. Talk to it. Hold it. Give it affection. That relationship made a difference.”

Ultimately, what affects our health in the most meaningful ways has as much to do with how we treat and live with one another, and how we think about what it means to be human. I love this because it isn’t often science will admit to the connection to gospel truths. 😉 After all, God created the science in the first place.😄

The results of this study are pretty easy to figure out… after all, the greatest commandment is, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” followed by, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:36-40)

The results of lack of kindness shows in the world today and is proof positive the Savior was right by saying—love God, then each other! They really are the greatest commandments. I know we don’t have control over others, but we do have control over ourselves (and remember too that holding on to anger is proven to be a health risk). I believe we can make a difference when we all show kindness, one person at a time.

Last week Tyler Perry accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars, and speech resulted in a standing ovation! He said:

“My mother taught me to refuse hate, she taught me to refuse blanket judgement. It is my hope that all of us would teach our kids to just refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican, or because they are black or white or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I want to dedicate this award to whoever wants to stand in the middle. That’s where change happens.”

His words were a balm for every soul and spoke truth! And you know what? It takes as long to be mean as it does to be kind—it’s just a choice! And we have scientific proof it even helps rabbits!”🐰😉#KindnessHeals

If you bring Tyler and Marie’s words and apply them to addiction, you get this:

I’ve been listening to this book on Audible and it states:

“Families of addicts using collaboration and kindness rather than confrontation to support behavior change”.

This theory comes from the CRAFT approach which bases their “craft’ on this principle:

We envision a world where everyone who loves someone struggling with substances has access to information and tools based in science, grounded in compassion, and tailored to the needs of families and their community.

Studies show the CRAFT approach has a 67% success rate compared to Al-Anon/nar-anon. This is the the success rate for the person with addiction when their families participate in craft principles compared to those other support groups! So how we treat the addicted loved one matters!

So Instead of washing your hands of something ‘you can’t control’ (which is true – in theory) craft teaches these skills:

“Providers who are trained or certified in CRAFT teach parents communication skills, collaborative problem-solving, and how to talk with their children in a warm and loving way. Parents get coaching and individual therapy and are encouraged to do couples work.

“While other treatment approaches call for either confronting or detaching from a loved one who is a substance user, CRAFT shows how to change one’s interactions with the addicted person to reduce or stop his or her substance use and encourage the person to move toward getting help. CRAFT teaches family and friends skills such as how to:

  • Care for themselves and take back control of their lives.
  • Understand triggers that lead to a loved one’s substance use.
  • Reward a loved one when he or she does not use ­substances—and withdraw positive reinforcement when there is unhealthy behavior, such as alcohol intoxication.
  • Use positive communication to improve interactions and to maximize their impact.
  • Encourage a substance user to seek treatment.
  • Spot signs that things might escalate to domestic violence.-

While it is true you can’t MAKE someone stop using, or control the outcomes, you can surely “invite” them to care enough about themselves to want to get better. We do this by showing kindness to another human in the face of a devastating insidious disease that needs the balance of a LOVE & CONNECTION to overcome its demons.