5 Things You Need to Know About Kindness
Friday 29 May 2020
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is kindness. Right now, the world needs kindness more than ever but did you know that random acts of kindness don’t just benefit the recipient?Doing good does us good. Here’s 5 reasons to be kind:
1. When performing kind acts our bodies produce ‘feel-good’ hormones. Oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ increases our self-esteem and optimism as well as lowering our blood pressure and improving our overall heart health. Endorphins, another feel good chemical, are also released without us having to go near a gym or put our trainers on. Endorphins are also our body’s natural pain killer. Serotonin is also produced which helps regulate mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function. A lack of serotonin is associated with depression.
2. Performing kind acts reduces cortisol levels and so reduces stress. Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol than the average population. Reduced cortisol is associated with slower ageing so we can be kind and help our wrinkles too!
3. Researchers at Emory University found that doing good deeds lights up the brain reward centres as if we were the recipient not the giver. This is known as ‘Helper’s High’. Indeed a 2010 Harvard study of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic were the happiest overall.
4. Kindness is contagious - positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnesses the act putting them in a good mood and making them more likely to pay it forward. One kind act is like throwing a pebble into a pond. The ripples will continue to flow out.
5. The effects of kindness are long lasting. Imagine being complimented by a friend or colleague, it’s likely to put you in a good mood all day but when those acts of kindness come in an hour of need, they may well be remembered for a lifetime. Imagine being sick and in hospital, a friend organises a cooking rota so your family are well fed whilst you’re indiposed, handwritten letters flood in to show support, thoughtful presents are given. That’s kindness that’s remembered forever and likely to
come back to you in your hour of need.