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Kindness Changes the Brain

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Recently, I spoke to a group of college students and I started with, “So, who am I?”

I stared down at the page that listed my accomplishments. The list seemed unimportant. Then I looked back out over the sea of fresh faces waiting for an answer to “who am I”. I felt the urge to say one simple thing:

“I am the sum of every kind act that’s ever been done to me.”

Science can back me up. Renowned psychologist Dr. Paddy O’Grady says, “Neuroscience and social science research is clear: kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. The brain is the source of the kindness we extend and we receive. All of our behavior is brain-based and when mirror neurons are firing without jamming, their message of empathy, kind thoughts, words and deeds ensue.”

Mirror neurons aside, my brain has changed for the good because of all the kind people I’ve had in my life. Just the simple fact that I’m more kind makes me successful. And while young college students would like to know the secret to success, they need to look no further than their heart. So I said in conclusion, “Follow your heart. Be kind. And call your parents.”