7 Science-Based Reasons to Spread Goodness and Kindness
Imagine: When was the last time a stranger was truly kind to you? Maybe someone held the door open as you walked by, or escorted you to an address you couldn’t find on the street… Of course, you can also ask when was the last time you were kind to someone. You probably know that showing someone kindness, doing good, you feel good inside. What you may not know, however, is that there is scientific research showing that these warm feelings are also good for your long-term health and well-being.
Kelly Harding, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, “Small acts of kindness are important and often overlooked components of health” speaks. Kindness includes acts we do out of concern for the well-being of others and are often thought to stem from a genuine desire to help someone; not out of fear of punishment or an attempt to get an explicit reward in return. We can also be kind to ourselves, which is self-compassion. The kindness and kindness we show both to others and to ourselves benefits our health and well-being.
Benefits of Increasing Acts of Kindness and Kindness in Your Life
Being kind to others really means being kind to yourself. Scientific research shows that we are biologically programmed to be kind and that we can develop this trait with practice and repetition. However, we can lose this innate ability due to external influences and the pressures of everyday life.
Kindness and empathy help us develop more positive relationships with friends, family, and even strangers we meet in everyday life. Kindness can make you healthier as well as improve personal relationships! Discover the positive effects that kindness to others can have on you and the people you are kind to.
1. Kindness and kindness are contagious
When we are kind, we inspire others to be kind. Research shows that this creates a “ripple effect” that spreads to friends of friends of our friends. Just as a pebble makes waves when thrown into water, good deeds and kindness flow through them, touching the lives of others; it even spreads good wherever the wave goes.
One study found that a kidney donation from an unknown 28-year-old creates a kind of “ripple effect” in which kidney recipients donate a kidney from one of their family members to someone else who needs it. According to this picture, which was interpreted as a “domino effect” in a New England Journal of Medicine report, this anonymous donation indirectly provided the kidney that 10 people had been waiting for.
2. Kindness makes you a happier person.
We feel good when we do something nice for someone else. On a spiritual level, many people feel good because what they are doing is “right,” so they tap into a deep inner voice that says, “This is who I am.” On a biochemical level, these pleasurable sensations are believed to be associated with increased levels of endogenous opioids known as natural morphine in the brain. They provide a high level of dopamine in the brain, which leads to a natural intoxication, often referred to as the “helper’s high”.
3. It’s good for the heart
Acts of kindness and kindness are often accompanied by warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain and body. Recently, this hormone has attracted attention for its important role in the cardiovascular system.
Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. It also lowers blood pressure. This is why oxytocin is known as the “cardioprotective” hormone, as it protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
4. Supports the immune system
Research shows that kindness (due to the feeling of being kind) raises levels of important immune system antibodies known as “secretory immunoglobulin A” (s-IgA for short). One of the most surprising facts of the study is that this effect occurs even when you are a witness to kindness! In other words, whether you do good or receive good, there is an immune-boosting effect.
When the opposite happens, that is, when you are under stress, as you probably know, your body’s immune function is suppressed. Moreover, just as in goodness, this happens not only when you experience stress, but also when you see it.
5. Reduces anxiety
Anxiety, whether mild or severe, is an extremely common human experience. And there are several ways to reduce anxiety such as meditation, exercise, natural remedies. Surprisingly, being kind to others turns out to be one of those ways.
As stated in the happiness study conducted by the University of British Columbia, “Social anxiety is associated with low positive affect, a factor that can significantly affect psychological well-being and adaptive functioning.” Positive affect refers to an individual’s experience of positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. In their study, the researchers found that participants who behaved politely saw a significant increase in positive impact over four weeks.
So the next time you feel anxious, look for opportunities to help others. It can be anything from smiling at someone to calling a friend or volunteering for an organization.
6. Improves relationships
Certainly, this is one of the most obvious consequences of good deeds and kindness. We all like people who show us kindness. This is because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people, so we feel more “connected”. So this powerful thing within us is actually genetic. We are beings deeply committed to goodness! Our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate with each other. The stronger the emotional bonds within groups, the higher the chance of survival; that’s why the “kindness genes” are imprinted in the human genome. So today, when we are kind to each other, we naturally feel connected, form new relationships or strengthen existing ones.
7. Supports mental health
Many studies show that kindness and benevolence increase happiness. Research comparing people who behave normally with people who are asked to be more kind shows that those who show more kindness tend to feel happier. Other studies report that kindness provides some protection against depression (studies comparing other people who volunteer regularly). The happiness-boosting and anti-depressant effects are based on the neurological impact of how kindness is felt. Moreover, kindness touches something deep and spiritual within us.
Brain research shows that kind and compassionate emotions cause left-sided physical changes in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the rest of the brain behind and above the eyes; also the part that is associated with positive emotions. When you repeat the practices of kindness and compassion, this space also increases. As a result, it becomes easier to access everything that uses the corresponding field. Kindness and compassion shape this area of the brain, making it easier to access positive emotions.
*All of the above information is provided by Dr. It can be found in David R. Hamilton’s The Five Side Effects of Kindness and The Little Book of Kindness.
Showing kindness and courtesy benefits everyone!
Of course, we do not recommend being careful to take advantage of the benefits listed above. Although it is good to know all this. Whether you are naturally kind or trying to develop that side of you, the result will benefit everyone! Because doing good to others is doing yourself a favor.
Sources: QueitRev, Happiness, BrightVibes.
This may interest you: Good is not given to chance: Good does not come by chance, it is possible with consciousness.
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