We know that being a kind person uplifts and encourages the people around us. Kindness helps us relate to other people and have positive relationships. However, selflessly treating others with kindness isn’t just good for the world and the people around us—it's good for ourselves! Overwhelming research and evidence suggests that being kind is actually good for our own health. In fact, there are several physical and social benefits that are associated with kindness, empathy, and compassion:
1) Kindness makes us feel good thanks to neurotransmitters in our brains. Doing nice things for others boosts serotonin and gives us the feeling of satisfaction and well-being. Being kind also releases endorphins, causing the phenomenon known as “helper’s high.”
2) Being kind is good for your heart- literally! Being kind releases a hormone called oxytocin. According to author and organic chemist Dr. David Hamilton, “oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure).”
3) Kindness keeps you healthy thanks to oxytocin’s ability to lower inflammation, therefore combatting associated health issues like chronic pain, migraines, diabetes, etc. According to a study done by UCLA medical researchers Steve Cole and Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina, “volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.”
4) Altruism might help us live longer! University at Buffalo’s Michael Poulin found that stress was linked to a higher chance of dying, however, doing good for others works against feelings of stress. Sara Konrath of the University of Michigan discovered in her own studies that people who engaged in volunteerism and kindness lived longer than their non-volunteering peers.
5) Kindness is contagious. Social scientists James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard found through their studies that “acts of generosity and kindness beget more generosity in a chain reaction of goodness.” People do kind things when they see others being kind.
Because kindness offers so many benefits, by uplifting others, we are also helping ourselves. Acts of kindness and compassion make others happy, and in turn, make us happy as well. If you cultivate kindness daily, you will ultimately become a better person physically and mentally. Check out our social media pages for inspiration when it comes to acts of kindness- we share new ideas every month!