the most important goal is to be satisfied with yourself and others

Neither go to the gym nor learn a new language. We all want to leave good memories of a couple, family, friendship… Why do we forget about this?

January: new year, counter at zero and good intentions. Right now I’m going to go to the gym, I want to eat healthier, I want to be more organized, I’m going to learn English… None of the things we’ve chosen as goals are as urgent as practice kindness, “the natural inclination to do good” and “the kindness of one person to another,” according to the RAE. Various studies confirm that focusing on kindness in our daily lives has positive effects on our brain and overall health. It also helps form more social connections. stable and positive.

“Kindness is what makes us happy and what truly gives meaning to our lives, as Viktor E. Frankl wrote after going through a concentration camp. Not only that, but a good person is how we would like to be remembered. This is exactly how all the patients explained it to my admiring friend, psycho-oncologist Ainhoa ​​Widegain, in the last days of her life,” she says. Jose Luis Bimbela Pedrola (Barcelona, ​​November 6, 1956), author Practical and radical goodness (ed. Descle De Brouwer) and Professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health in Granada, PhD in Psychology and MSc in Drug Addiction from the University of Barcelona.

It was this conversation with Videgain that became the motivation for him to write the issue, when, after a surprise attack by Hamas, neither the Russian invasion of Ukraine nor the war between Israel and the Gaza Strip began. “Today, in 2024, it would even be More necessary“, he notes. “I decide, I do, I train, I infect. By making the decision to choose goodness as your goal, you will benefit, your environment and society as a whole will benefit.” And he warns: “But once you place your bet, act and turn it into behavior through habit and discipline so that you don’t give up after two days and the cycle of gym and English repeats itself again.”


Bimbela is a doctor of psychology, health professional, educator and author of several books.

Should we strive to be a good person in an individualistic and selfish context? “Of course, we have to work hard! Let him a person strives for good This is something we already knew, and behavioral science, anthropology and neuropsychology are strengthening this idea.” As a public health professional for 30 years, he is a strong advocate that prevention is better than cure. “We can’t live with collateral damage and 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 constantly work on it “, he defends.

He gives an example cabin depressurization. “On an airplane, before helping the person next to you, it is important to put on a mask yourself. The same thing happens in society: I am with me – this is the most immediate level of salvation, I am 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 avoid infecting others. Have we already forgotten the phrase “we will come out better”?

“As a group, we were threatened by a pandemic. Faced with this, we went to the most important thing. In danger, we united to survive. Once the worst was over, we forgot.” It is impossible to get better with the help of magic, he insists: “Only if you decide and do it. It’s like when you’re healthy, you live without thinking about illness, and only when you’re in poor health do you notice it.”


Issues such as climate change, growing mental health issues, global crises… are creating a reality in which fear and uncertainty They prevent us from communicating with other people. For this reason, Bimbela encourages the cultivation of kindness, such as exercise, so that it does not become a victim and becomes fun.

“This is a very difficult moment when we walk like sheep without seeing wellbeing goals for all. “The studies I reviewed and cite in the book show that altruistic behavior increases levels of oxytocin and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

A patient with chronic pain, this psychologist improved his quality of life through certain types of care, such as healthy eating and exercise. This is why he emphasizes that “kind acts in recent research are also associated with reduction of inflammatory processes“.

In addition to that more physical healthThe emotional part that kindness provides quotes the Greek philosopher Epictetus: “The most important thing is not what happens, but how I interpret what happens to me. It gives us strength as individuals in the face of a situation that we can see.” in a more pessimistic and catastrophic way.”

In social health, he relies on the famous 6 verbs of communication: “Ask, hear, empathize, summary, reinforce and provide feedback. In the area of ​​kindness, relationships of respect and mutual trust are built.” A very important aspect in conditions of social polarization, the word of the year. “You see a lot of conversations where you’re not being listened to, but instead you’re thinking about how you’re going to counterattack in your next response.” We are also very speculative. “We must ask to understand the feelings or reasons of others, even if we do not share them,” the expert reflects.

As for the spiritual dimension, related to the meaning of life, and not necessarily to religion, it is based on eudaimoniaHe state of satisfaction This is usually related to a life situation rather than more hedonistic pleasures such as sex, food or money. “To be happy, you need to find a calling or meaning.” You don’t have to be overly ambitious. Enough “reason to get up every morning.”

Finally, to maintain good behavior over time, talk about ethical health. “This is the strategy that is discussed in business schools, and we have all heard it at some point: a win-win or a win-win option. Already in the biblical scriptures it was said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No one can be so good that he seems stupid, this is not about martyrdom, but about understanding that goodness is for everyone. “To give the best to others, you must first take care of yourself.”


Why do we seem like the worst people on social networks like X where everyone seems angry? In the book, the writer prefers to first ask us if we are going to contribute something with our comment, instead of saying something we would never say to their face. “Before you do anything, you need to consider the consequences, and not just if you intend to offend, which is most obvious because there is already an intention to harm another. There are times when we don’t even intend to cause harm, but we do harm someone, and we also have to measure that before we act.”

Bimbela talks about selfie behavioral. It consists of drawing up a portrait with your own diagnosis. “A snapshot of the behavior we want to change to implement good behavior even before you wanted to change others.

This refers to the fact that we are very prone to tell our children or our partners how they should act and behave, he criticizes, without first scanning ourselves. “This will give us an idea of ​​what is costing us more and what is less, so that it is not all a toast to the sun,” he concludes. Because if we want change the world We must 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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