Counselling by Nicola Stewart

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Being a mental health specialist and trainer is a varied and rewarding role.  Read my thoughts on current press, pace and progress regarding children's mental health and the support services available to families.

The Rabbit Effect - how simple kindness can change our physiology!

By Nicky Stewart, May 19 2020 03:24PM

In a study scientists were feeding groups of rabbits an unhealthy diet to see how it affected their health. They were shocked to find that one group did much better than the others, despite eating the same food and being genetically identical.


What was going on?



It turned out that one of the assistants was fond of rabbits and as well as feeding her group, she'd also been hugging and stroking them whilst talking to them. And they were living longer as a result! According to Dr Kelli Harding in her new book The Rabbit Effect, she was simply "giving them love and kindness". And what's true for rabbits turns out to be true for humans too. Dr Keli believes …


"The hug you give your child or spouse makes a difference. Research shows that loving actions actually change our physiology".


This groundbreaking research shows that love, friendship, community, life’s purpose, and our environment can have an impact on our physical health. This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme this year is KINDNESS. Check out the Mental Health Foundation website for some resources and ideas on how kindness can be demonstrated during this period of social distancing.


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation state that although we need to distance ourselves, it doesn’t mean we can’t help each other. During difficult times, we often see the most beautiful acts of kindness. If you’re home and looking for things to do to keep busy, take a look at their website.








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