(3 minute read.)
5 Heart-warming Reasons Why Performing Acts of Kindness is Good for You.
1. Makes you happier. Performing acts of kindness increase oxytocin production; a hormone which, among other actions, lifts your mood.
You can also experience a ‘helpers high’. This is when your brain’s pleasure centre lights up as a reward for being kind, causing a rush of dopamine. This is another hormone that is associated with feelings of happiness.
According to the 2021 World Happiness Report, Finland is currently the happiest country in the world. (Click here to see where your country is rated.) This is because of, among other factors, having strong, support systems from family and friends and the act of generous donations to charities.
Yet another hormone, serotonin which is responsible for mood regulation and general wellbeing, is also heightened by being kind.
Also, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that the participants who engaged in kind acts over 4 weeks, showed significant increases in their levels of joy, interest and alertness.
2. Helps to reduce your feelings of isolation. Being kind to each other can help us to create, keep and strengthen our social connections. A study of 136 countries conducted by the Harvard Business School found that societies that were the most charitable had the happiest people.
3. Reduces your blood pressure. Oxytocin also causes the release of nitric oxide in your blood vessels which dilates them, therefore lowering your blood pressure.
4. Helps to reduce stress. Research by the University of Zurich shows that oxytocin may increase feelings of trust which consequently helps to lower anxiety and boost your self-esteem.
5. May lower your risk of dying young. Studies have shown that volunteering corresponds with a 24% lower risk of dying early, which has about the same outcome as eating 6 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
Volunteers also have a lower risk of developing heart disease and spend 38% fewer nights in hospitals than people who don’t.
Kindness and Me
I used to find as I was growing up that I enjoyed being kind to people because of the approval I received of family and friends. It made me feel good about myself and boosted my low self-esteem.
However, I have to say that, at times, I struggle with my cynicism when people are kind to me. Sometimes I feel indebted to them and feel an urgency to reciprocate. Or, I get suspicious of their motives. Why are they being kind to me?
I believe kindness is absolutely essential in this world. We are naturally sociable and being kind does help to strengthen relationships.
I like the idea of performing random acts of kindness because when we perform them, there’s usually no other motive than to help the recipient; our egos are barely involved.
So keep up with the acts of kindness. Not only you may experience the above benefits but you are helping to make this world more pleasant to live in. Don’t we all want to live in a better world?
What’s the kindest act that someone has done for you? Let me know in the comments box.
If you like this post, feel free to buy me a coffee, below. Thank you. 😀
Sources: mentalhealth.org.uk, bps.org.uk, quietrev.com, bbc.com, healthyhumanlife.com, happiness.com, afar.com