The most important goal is to be happy with yourself and others

Neither go to the gym nor learn a new language. We all want to leave a good memory as a couple, family, friendship… why do we forget it?

January: New Year, counter to zero and best intentions. Now I’m going to go to the gym, I’m going to eat healthy, I’m going to be more organized, I’m going to study English… Whatever we’ve chosen as a goal is not as urgent. Practice kindness, “a natural inclination to do good” and that “one person’s kindness to another”, according to the RAE. Various researches confirm that betting on kindness in our daily life has positive results on our brain and the general state of our health. In addition, it contributes to the formation of more social bonds. Steady and positive.

“Kindness is what makes us happy And Victor E. after passing through a concentration camp. As Frankl wrote, what really gives our lives meaning. And not only that, a good person is how we want to be remembered. This is how all patients explained to my admired friend, psycho-oncologist Ainhoa ​​Videgain, in the last days of her life,” she says. JOSE LUIS BIMBELLA PEDROLA (Barcelona, ​​November 6, 1956), author Practical and radical goodness (Ed. Desclée De Brouwer) and Professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health in Granada, PhD in Psychology and Master in Drug Addiction from the University of Barcelona.

This conversation with Widegain was precisely his inspiration for writing this issue, when neither the Russian invasion of Ukraine nor the war between Israel and Gaza had begun after a surprise attack by Hamas. “Today, in 2024, it will be too more necessary“, he points out. “I decide, I do, I train, I infect. With the decision to choose goodness as your purpose, you will win, your environment will win, and society as a whole will win.” And he warns: “But, once you bet, take action And turn it into behavior through habit and discipline so that you don’t give up after two days and so the cycle of gym and English repeats itself.”


Bimbela is a doctor of psychology, public health activist, teacher and author of several books.

Should we strive to be good people in an individualistic and selfish context? “Of course you have to work hard! Let it go Human beings desire goodness It’s something we already knew and the behavioral sciences, anthropology and neuropsychology, are reinforcing that idea.” As a public health worker for 30 years, she is a staunch defender that prevention is better than cure. “We’re leaving collateral damage. can’t live Then try to leave those good memories as a father, as a son, as a friend of my friends, as a life partner… You have to incorporate it into your daily life and work on it continuously,” he defends.

It gives an example Cabin depressurization. “On a plane, before attending to the person next to you, it’s key that you put on your mask yourself. The same is true in society: Me with me is the most immediate level of salvation, I with you comes later, then we and we. This order is key.” Remember the phase of the coronavirus crisis, when personal responsibility was the key to not infecting others. Have we forgotten ‘we will come out better’?

“As a group, as a species, we were threatened by an epidemic. Faced with it, we turned to what was most necessary. In danger, we came together to survive. Once the most serious thing was over, we forgot.” You never heal with magic, he insists: “Just If you decide and if you do. It seems that when you are healthy, you live without thinking about illness, and only notice it if you are in poor health.”

Emotional gymnastics

Challenges like climate change, rising mental health issues, global crises… a reality where drawing Fear and uncertainty They prevent us from being able to connect with others. For this reason, Bimbela encourages training kindness as an exercise, so that it does not have to be sacrificed and becomes a joy.

“It is a very difficult moment that we go through without looking like sheep Wellness goals for all. “The studies I reviewed and cited in the book say that altruistic behaviors increase oxytocin and decrease cortisol, which is the stress hormone.”

A chronic pain patient, this psychologist improved his quality of life through specific care such as healthy eating and exercise. That’s why he asserts that “acts of kindness are also correlated in recent studies Reduction of inflammatory processes

In addition Greater physical healthIn an emotional passage that gives mercy, the Greek philosopher Epictetus quotes: “The most relevant thing is not what happens, but how I interpret what happens to me. That gives us strength as individuals when facing the situation. is what we can see. more pessimistic and catastrophic.”

In social health, it relies on the famous 6 verbs of communication: “to ask, listen, Sympathy, Start again, reinforce and provide feedback. In the realm of kindness they build relationships of respect and mutual trust.” A very important aspect in the face of social polarization, word of the year.” You see a lot of conversations where you’re not listening, but instead you’re thinking about how you’re going to retort in the next response.” We’re also very predictable.” “We have to ask to understand others’ feelings or reasons, even if we don’t share them,” reflects the expert.

As for the spiritual dimension, linked to the meaning of life and not necessarily to religion, it depends on this Eudaimoniathat A state of satisfaction As opposed to more pleasant pleasures such as sex, food or money, usually due to life circumstances. “You have to find an occupation or a meaning to be happy.” You don’t need to be too ambitious. “A reason to get up every morning” is enough.

Finally, to maintain a kind attitude over time, talk about Moral health. “It’s a strategy that’s discussed in business schools and we’ve all heard it at some point: Win-win Or win-win. It was already in the biblical writings that ‘thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’. No one can be so good that they feel stupid, it’s not about being a martyr, but understanding that goodness is for everyone. “To give the best to others, you must first take care of yourself.”

Kindness and social networks

Why do we feel like bad people on social networks like X, where everyone looks angry? In the book, the author chooses to first ask us if we are going Contribute something With our comments, instead of saying things we would never say to their face. “You have to measure the consequences before doing something, and not just if you’re going to offend, which is most obvious because it’s already intended to hurt others. There are times when we even intend to hurt. No. Hurts someone and we must measure that before acting.”

Bimbela talks about Selfie Behavior involves creating a portrait with our own diagnosis. “A snapshot of the behavior change we want to implement Kind behavior Before wishing to change others.

It refers to the fact that we are too prone to tell our children or our partners how to behave and be, without first doing a self-scan. “It will give us an indication of what costs us more and what costs less so it’s not all toast to the sun,” he concludes. Because if we want to Change the world We have to start with ourselves and with small steps.

Practical and radical goodnessJosé Luis Bimbela Pedrola is published by Desclée de Brouwer and you can buy it here.

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