Most of us know that random acts of kindness can help make the world a better place. Not only can you make someone’s life a little brighter directly, but kindness tends to breed more kindness, with people paying it forward. Did you know that kindness may provide you some health benefits as well?
Kindness and empathy help us relate to other people, which in turn creates more positive relationships with family and friends. These emotional benefits in turn can help us feel more connected and less alone.
Aside from the emotional benefits, kindness has also been shown to improve these biological aspects as well:
Serotonin is the hormone in your body that helps to make you feel good…. And doing nice things for others releases this hormone, which in turn releases endorphins. Some refer to this as “helper’s high”.
Positive affectivity (PA) is a human characteristic that describes how much people experience positive affects (sensations, emotions, sentiments...); and as a consequence, how they interact with others and with their surroundings. Low PA is associated with social anxiety, and studies have shown that people who spread kindness display significant increases in PA.
Aside from the obvious “heartwarming” sensations by being kind to others, kindness releases the hormone oxytocin, which causes the release of nitric oxide in your blood vessels. This expands the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure, which… you guessed it…. is fabulous for your heart.
According to health.com, you are at a higher risk for heart disease if you don’t have a strong network of family and friends. When you are kind to others, it helps to make you more option to social interactions, which gives you the opportunity to build that strong support system.
Taking the time to help others can help get us out from “in our head” and focusing on our own stresses, to focusing on someone else. Studies have also shown that regularly doing this can help deal with stress more effectively as well.
Helps prevent illness
Sounds crazy right? Inflammation in the body is associated with all sorts of health issues (diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines). However, volunteering showed a correlation with lower levels of inflammation in the body. Getting out and helping others really is good for your mind and body!
Overall, volunteering and being kind to others can help increase your overall sense of well-being, while also promoting empathy and compassion. Basically, it makes you feel good about yourself!
Need a jump start for ways to pay forward some random acts of kindness? Check out the list below! Have anything to add? We’d love to hear from you!
- Let someone go first in line
- Compliment someone
- Pick up some trash
- Buy a stranger a cup of coffee (this works great in the drive-thru)
- Buy a dozen flowers and hand them out to people walking by
- Write a letter of appreciation for someone in your life
- Bring treats for your co-workers
- Spread encouragement and positivity on social media
- Lend a hand to a neighbor or a stranger in need
- Smile! It’s contagious!
This Balance Your Life™ tip is brought to you by Belmont Health & Wealth. Contact us today for information on group retirement, group employee benefits, personal savings and insurance and even wellness strategies!