A simple act of kindness can make a big difference in another person's life, but scientific research also shows that being kind is very good for your health. The Random Acts of Kindness website is a great place to start learning how we can better spread kindness throughout our communities.
According to the RAK website, the health benefits of kindness are significant!
- Improves energy levels!
Studies have shown that people feel stronger and more energetic after helping others.
- Lowers blood pressure & improves heart health.
Committing acts of kindness produces the "love hormone" oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the emission of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and ultimately protects the heart!
- Heals wounds & decreases pain.
Kindness increases serotonin, a feel-good hormone that helps heal wounds. Practicing random acts of kindness also produces endorphins, which are known as the brain's natural painkiller.
- Decreases depression & reduces anxiety.
The RAK website refers to scholars and studies who reveal that when we give kindness to others, we improve life satisfaction, self-realization, and the quality of our relationships. This in turn, reduces depression and anxiety because we are increasing our well-being and good fortune. Those who were highly anxious witnessed a decrease in avoiding social situations after performing six acts of kindness per week for one month. When we are kind to another person, our brain's pleasure and reward centers "light up." This sensation is known as "helper’s high," which you can also get from just witnessing acts of kindness!
- Slows the aging process & increases lifespan.
People who are always trying to be kind have 23% less cortisol – the stress hormone – and age at a slower rate compared to the general population. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have a much greater likelihood of living longer.
For more great tips on the benefits of kindness, click here.
The RAK website also has a list of 50 ideas for random acts of kindness that individuals can start with. Check them out here!
Let's all work to improve our health through greater kindness to ourselves and others!