We know that being a kind person uplifts and encourages the people around us. Kindness helps us relate to other people and have positive relationships. However, treating others with kindness isn’t just good for the world and the people around us—it’s good for ourselves! In fact, there are several physical and social benefits that are associated with kindness, empathy, and compassion:
– Kindness makes us feel good thanks to neurotransmitters in our brains. Doing nice things for others boosts serotonin and gives us the feeling of satisfaction and well-being. Being kind also releases endorphins, causing the phenomenon known as “helper’s high.” A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.
– Being kind is good for your heart- literally! Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation.
– Kindness keeps you healthy thanks to oxytocin’s ability to lower inflammation, therefore combatting associated health issues like chronic pain, migraines, diabetes, etc. According to a study done at the University of North Carolina, “volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.”
Because kindness offers so many benefits, by uplifting others, we are also helping ourselves. Acts of kindness and compassion make others happy, and in turn, make us happy as well. Now that you know all the amazing benefits of kindness, don’t you just want to get out there and make someone smile? There are so many simple ways you can incorporate kindness into your daily routine.
Here are some steps you can take to be kinder and happier:
- Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while;
- Help others with small chores like cooking for your significant other or running an errand for your parents;
- Take care of yourself by reading a book to exercise your mind or going to the gym to exercise your body;
- Volunteer for a local community organization
- Offer your expertise and support as a mentor for those who are struggling
- Check in safely with a neighbour who is isolated or shielding
- Involve your friends and neighbours in community projects
- You could start up an online book club or film club
- Offer to skill-share with a friend via video call – you could teach guitar, dance or a new recipe.
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
The important thing to remember is that being kinder means making a deliberate effort to put others before yourself.