Most people know that kindness is a good thing. Now, researchers believe even simple acts of kindness done often can improve both the mental and physical health of the doer. Here’s why:
- Kindness makes you feel good.
From a biochemical level, being kind helps the body produce dopamine. This chemical, which produces the same effect on the body as morphine but in a healthy way, is released when we feel good about ourselves such as the case after doing something nice.
- Kindness is good for the heart.
Symbolically as well as physiologically, kindness can make the heart grow stronger. This is due to the body’s correlation of emotional warmth and the secretion of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin releases nitrous oxide in the blood vessels. This dilates the vessels reducing the blood pressure and offering key cardiovascular benefits.
- Kindness keeps us young.
The natural process of aging is amplified by inflammation and free radicals. The release of oxytocin helps to reduce the levels of these perpetuators of age, keeping us young from the the inside out.
- Kindness makes stronger relationships.
In the days of the caveman, humans had to learn to interact and cooperate with one another to ensure their survival and that of the human race. Today, we live with what is known as the “kindness gene” that encourages us to do things for one another to forge and strengthen relationships. Strong relationships are vital to an individual’s mental health.
- Kindness is (fortunately) contagious.
Acts of kindness tend to encourage other people – whether consciously or not – to be nice to others. Effectively, one random act of kindness could trigger an unlimited flow of positive feelings. Theoretically, if there were enough kindness in the world the human race would be, as a whole, a healthier, happier and longer-living species.