How Kindness Can Give You A Healthy Happy Glow
Tomorrow, Friday 13th November (unlucky for some!) is World Kindness Day! How cool is that? Really every day should be world kindness day but I don’t think people give it much thought so it’s really good that there’s a day to highlight the benefits of kindness and to remind people why we should all be a little kinder to others and dare I say it, to ourselves also.
Did you know that kindness can give you a healthy happy glow?
Let me explain…
Recent research in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and wellness has shed light on just how powerful a force kindness can be. Acts of kindness (both giving and receiving) are a super easy way to get a little more health and happiness in your life and there’s not a pill, supplement or diet in sight.
Acts of kindness produce several hormones in the brain and throughout the body. One of which is oxytocin, which is said to aid in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart-health.
Other positive health benefits that have been linked to acts of kindness include more energy, fewer aches, an increased capacity to heal and even an increased life expectancy. Studies have shown that children thrive when treated with kindness, that ill patients heal quicker when treated with kindness and that volunteering had a greater impact at lowering mortality rates than regular exercise!
Another hormone our body produces with acts of kindness is serotonin which is often called the ‘happy hormone’ as it makes us feel happy and relieves anxiety. It’s been shown that altruistic people tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives and they have lower rates of depression, stress and mental illness. They also report a greater sense of purpose in their lives.
The body also produces the ‘feel good’ hormone dopamine which feels like a natural high. So when we do something kind, we get a kick out of it. These elevated dopamine levels are often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’ and will often make us want to do more kind acts to get the same dopamine response.
I’ve talked before on the blog about how free radicals and inflammation can rob us of our glow and impact aging. But research is showing that oxytocin reduces these levels in our cardiovascular system and so slows the aging process. Kindness also reduces levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol which also slows aging.
A RIPPLE EFFECT
What is really cool about this whole kindness thing is that the chemical effects of kindness are actually experienced in the brain of everyone who receive or witness the act. Studies have shown that when we’re kind it actually creates a ripple effect, improving others moods and making them significantly more likely to ‘pay it forward’.
It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture and it doesn’t need to cost any money. It can be something small and the more you do the greater the impact you’ll have, thanks to that ripple effect. Here are some examples:
Buy a colleague a tea or coffee
Pay for the car behind you at a toll booth
Donate blood if you can
Pay someone a genuine sincere compliment
Help a friend out by offering to mind their child
Volunteer at a local agency
See https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas for more great suggestions.
I’d love to hear suggestions on doing more random acts of kindness.