With the rush and the craziness of the holidays, we sometimes see the worst come out in people. Occasionally, it might even come from us! But hopefully we see incredible kindness and humanity appear as the heart of the season inspires us. While compassion and generosity should truly be an everyday event, kindness itself has incredible health benefits for the giver as well as the receiver.
Being kind releases endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones that make us feel anything from excitement to euphoric. Oxytocin is our body’s natural painkiller. It causes elevated levels of dopamine, giving us a natural high. Oxytocin also releases nitric oxide, which expands our blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. Therefore, being kind is good for our heart.
Being kind can help alleviate stress and ease anxiety. It can lighten our overall mood as well as give us the feeling of the natural high mentioned above. “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside told the Huffington Post. “When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person— more moral, optimistic, and positive.”1
While stress, anxiety and negativity can shorten our life span, being kind has been proven to increase it. Along with lowering our blood pressure and increasing our positive outlook, it boosts serotonin, which is a natural antidepressant, improves our immune system and decreases cortisol. Mental health has a major effect on our physical health, which translates into a longer, happier life.
Kindness and compassion can increase our self-esteem and self-confidence. Serving others can make us feel empowered. It’s a way to make a difference and shows us that what we do matters. It is one way you can see the good in yourself and reminds us to have empathy.
Kindness can connect us with people and improve our relationships. Most of us know how hurtful words feel. They can offend people and ruin friendships. When we are kind, we let those people in our lives know we care and understand them. We make them feel loved. Would you rather be known as “the mean girl” or as “the amazing woman who cares about others”?
Goodness, graciousness and philanthropy can do much more than make you a modern-day hero. It can improve your health, your quality of life and give you purpose in life. Being kind helps make the world a better place amidst so much negativity.
Easy tips to being kind:
• Smile at people. It’s easy and it’s free.
• Take a breath before allowing anger to come out.
• Don’t expect it to be reciprocated. Be kind for kindness’ sake.
• Only say good things about people. If it gets around to that person (and it usually does), they get a compliment and a positive impression of you.
• Consciously look for ways to help others, including strangers.
• ABOVE ALL … BE KIND TO YOURSELF
“Surprising Tips To Relieve Anxiety: 3 Ways That Kindness Is Good For Your Overall Physical and Mental Health” by Dana Dovey, medicaldaily.com
Additional ideas and thoughts from:
“6 Science-Backed Ways Being kind is Good For Your Health,” by Maile Proctor, quietrev.com
developgoodhabits.com (Louis Efron)