By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published October 19, 2016

One of my daughters once asked me what I thought the most important virtue was that she should try to instill in her children. I answered: kindness.

Certainly, kindness is not the only virtue for which to strive. We also should seek to be honest, loyal, ambitious and hard working, among other qualities.

But, in my opinion, nothing is as important as kindness. It affects not only us, but also, everyone around us. Who we are permeates to everyone and everything with whom and which we interact. If you have kindness in your heart, people can feel that, and you also will reap rewards, both emotionally and physically.

There are many ways in which we should take care of our bodies. We all should make an effort to maintain a proper diet and exercise, but being kind-hearted can help us be physically healthier, too.

Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author and researcher, published several volumes of a work entitled “Messages from Water,” in which he examined the effects of words, photographs and music on crystallized water. His research found that when crystallized water was exposed to violent or negative words, photographs or music – such as verbalized threats or heavy metal music – that crystallized water, when later viewed under a microscope, showed a murky form of asymmetrical shapes. However, when the crystallized water was exposed to kind and peaceful words, photographs or music – such as the word “love” or Mozart music – the crystallized water exhibited beautiful shapes and supreme clarity when later viewed microscopically.

How does this affect our bodies?

The human body consists of about 57 to 60 percent water, so Emoto’s research suggests that if we are filling our bodies with violent or negative thoughts, that action negatively influences the water that is filling our bodies, thereby possibly having a toxic effect on our overall health. But if you are filling your body with kind and happy thoughts, we can experience a positive physical side effect.

Although scientists have tried to debunk Emoto’s work, I believe there is some truth to it. I see the positive effects of kindness in my own life, and I am pleased when I see others performing kind acts.

I was thumbing through a copy of American Life a couple years ago when I came across an article about an organization called Acts of Random Kindness (ARK). A Purdue University student, Alex Radelich, started the group in 2012.

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