Did you know that random acts of kindness not only make us feel more connected to each other but can also have huge benefits on our physical and mental wellbeing? Research has shown that engaging in positive activities like regularly being kind to others boosts positive emotions, thoughts and behaviour, which in turn improves your general wellbeing.
Helping Others Makes us Feel Happy
In a study by the University of British Columbia, a group of people suffering from high levels of anxiety were requested to perform at least six random acts of kindness a week for four weeks. These kind gestures could be holding the door open for someone, doing chores for other people, donating to charity, buying lunch for a friend; anything to help others. The participants reported an increase in positive moods, reduced feelings of isolation, and overall reduced levels of anxiety after taking part in the study.
Be Kind to Others to Reduce Stress
When leading a busy or stressful lifestyle, many of us might not make helping others a priority, however, being kind to others has the ability to distract us from our own problems. Regularly performing acts of kindness towards others can relieve stress and help improve mental and emotional wellbeing. People who regularly engage in good deeds have been shown to become happier over time, which can improve self-esteem, and encourage a more optimistic, positive outlook. Try performing a positive act at least once a week and see how much happier you become!
Kindness is Good for Your Heart
Performing acts of kindness can also improve your physical wellbeing. Being kind to others causes your body to produce the hormone Oxytocin. This is often nicknamed ‘the love hormone’ because it is released at moments when we feel a connection with others such as when we hug or kiss a loved one. It has a profound effect on lowering anxiety levels, facilitates bonding, increases our feelings of empathy, and even improves circulation. This is due to Oxytocin releasing nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and contributes to good heart health by keeping blood pressure under control.
Kindness is Contagious
Performing an act of kindness can often inspire others to repeat the good deed that they have experienced themselves. When you do something kind to either a friend or a stranger, it may encourage them to be kind to someone else. This can start off a ripple effect, continuing to inspire more and more people to perform random acts of kindness towards others. This contributes to developing a more positive community. Why not try keeping a kindness diary? Make a note every time you perform an act of kindness, or when someone is kind to you, and it will help create long term positive memories, and remind you of positive feelings.
Being kind to others is just one of many ways to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. If you would like help with resolving health problems, including stress, anxiety, and cardiovascular issues, then please get in touch.
If you would like more information on this topic, read Dr David Hamilton’s book ‘Why Kindness is Good for You’.