February 17th marks the Random Acts of Kindness Day. Why is it important you ask? We’ll tell you why! Do you know that there are scientific benefits of giving or receiving kindness? Scientific evidence shows that there are positive effects of doing kind acts for others as well as witnessing kindness.
When we talk about kindness, it doesn’t have to be overly big or life-changing. Often, it’s the smallest acts of kindness that can have a huge impact. “A moment of support in a time of need, a quiet word of encouragement, a helping hand to carry a heavy load, or just a smile that says ‘I see you’ can make a world of difference”, suggests Dr. Andy Thornton.
When we practice kindness, whether towards others or to ourselves, we experience a lot of positive emotional and physical changes in our body which can lower our overall stress levels, while also releasing many feel-good hormones.
Witnessing kindness releases Oxytocin, which is often known as a love hormone, which improves our heart health. Oxytocin also helps in increasing our self-esteem and eases our anxiety in social situations. One also feels more energetic, with an increased feeling of self-worth.
A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness which was conducted in 136 countries, found that people who are altruistic and engage in kind acts – like making charitable donations, were happiest overall. Another research from Emory University stated that when you are kind to another person, the brain’s pleasure and reward centre lights up- as if you’re the one receiving a good deed, not the helper. This is often known as the helper’s high.
Kindness also decreases pain, anxiety, and depression. Studies have confirmed that people who engage in volunteering acts have fewer pains and aches. “Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” As stated by Christine Carter (2011), in her book Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.
And we can keep on going with the numerous benefits that kindness bestow upon us. In these troubled times, we can all use some kindness that we are waiting to receive from the world. Let’s start this with ourselves and extending this to people in our surroundings. Can you imagine that the world can become a much better place for each living being if we all start being kind to one another? We can already see it. So, what are you waiting for?
The science of kindness. Retrieved from: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness
Thornton, A. Importance of Kindness.
Retrieved from: https://www.myfoothold.org/blog/the-importance-ofkindness/#:~:text=Why%20is%20kindness%20important%3F,as%20dopamine%2C%20oxytocin%20and%20serotonin.