As we know or heard about ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ which was on the 17th February (we know – there are awareness days for everything nowadays), we thought it only fitting that we take this opportunity to remind you all that being kind to people is actually really good for your health. So, all you caring and thoughtful people out there – happy health to you!
And, we thought we’d share with you a few of the very best benefits to your health and wellbeing of being a generally nice person…
· Makes Us Happier | when we do something kind for someone, we feel good about ourselves. Biologically, this is due to the fact that undertaking an act of kindness is said to increase the production of serotonin in the brain. Also referred to as one of the ‘happy hormones’, serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical that has a calming and mood-regulating effect, and generally makes us happy, sociable beings
· Gives Us Healthier Hearts | being kind not only strengthens our immune system and reduces aches and pains, but it also improves our cardiovascular function. When we do something kind for someone, we feel ‘emotional warmth’ which produces Oxytocin – also known as the ‘love hormone’ or ‘cuddle chemical’ which causes the release of nitric oxide into our blood vessels, which in turn helps to reduce our blood pressure
· Improves Mental Health | as well as our physical health, being considerate to others is said to neutralise negative emotions and is associated with enhanced self-esteem and lower depression levels¹ – whilst on the flipside, being unkind to others (and to ourselves) is connected to depression and low psychological well-being
· Keeps Us Young | studies have shown that those of the older generation who show kindness and support to others actually live longer than those who don’t, with the act itself reported to boost energy and strength. And individuals of a certain age who do volunteering work, for example, are shown to have significantly lower mortality rates²
· Better Relationships | our natural instinct is to immediately warm to people who are compassionate and caring as it creates a connection and a bond. This works to both strengthen existing relationships with friends, family, or colleagues, and to create new ones
· Improved Love Life | indeed! It is well-documented that being physically good-looking gives you the upper hand in the dating game, but research suggests that this becomes much less important over time, with personality ultimately taking over³. In fact, a study⁴ of over 10,000 people from across the world found conclusively that kindness was much more attractive than good looks or financial prospects when it came to romance.
As Bob Hope once said: “If you haven’t got charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble” 🙂
¹ Mental Health Foundation
² Department of Veteran Affairs Health Care System and Stanford University
³ Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences
⁴ David Buss, Psychology: Themes and Variations