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The Science Behind How “Being Kind” is Good For You

March 09, 2019 3 min read

The Science Behind How “Being Kind” is Good For You

As social beings, we crave the warmth and comfort that kindness brings. Kindness helps ease tensions in a room and builds bridges between strangers. A simple smile or appreciative comment from a friend or colleague can become the biggest highlight of a person’s day.  

We intuitively understand the beauty of kindness, but it also helps to know that being kind, calm, friendly and helpful also improves our health. Isn’t it wonderful that you can directly contribute to someone’s wellness, just be being kind to them?

Research shows a direct causal relationship between kindness and increased health benefits of brain and heart health, long life, fulfillment, and energy. Overall, it improves our relationships and even our mental stamina. Kindness also decreases risks of stress, anxiety, depression, and illness. These wellness benefits are based on chemical reactions that get triggered when we help and support others with our gestures, words, and deeds.   


How kindness lights up your brain’s pleasure centers

1. The “Love Hormone”

Our acts of kindness generate oxytocin, known as “the love hormone,” which directly improves our heart-health. With our lowered blood pressure comes the positive side effects of self-esteem and optimism. Overall, it builds our emotional resilience, enabling us to cope with social anxiety.

2. Overall Satisfaction

After visiting your friend in the hospital, or offering to help your grandmother with her groceries, you may feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Our acts of kindness release a chemical in our brains called serotonin. In addition to reducing stress, this neurotransmitter can heal wounds and bring you joy.

3. Helper’s High

This is an all natural high that makes your body tingle when you make others feel cared for. It comes from the endorphins that increase in our brains. That’s why even a simple smile can immediately lighten your mood. This endorphin high also measurably reduces physical pain.

Specific kind acts proven to increase your wellness

Volunteering: Even more than exercise, volunteering has been shown to reduce the risk of early death for people over the age of 55 years old by as much as 44 percent. Researchers have claimed to isolate volunteering with two or more organization as the key ingredient to a longer life by eliminating the interference of other potential reasons like physical health, gender, smoking and marital status among others.
Donating money: When you show altruism by giving money to a person, organization or cause that you care about, you can improve your happiness. People who responded to a 2010 Harvard Business Review survey reported feelings of happiness associated with community-oriented financial generosity. The survey results held true for people across 136 different countries.
Everyday Kindness: Incorporating a daily or weekly quota of kind acts into your schedule helps you to lower your overall stress by lowering your level of anxiety-triggering cortisol. People that maintained steady, consistent kindness have 23% less cortisol in their bodies. Socially anxious individuals can also adopt a habit of kindness to reduce their social avoidance.


Quick Tip: Ensure your own constant kindness by making a brief list of your kind acts at the end of the day. Reviewing and tracking your kindness will inspire you to find creative new ways to make others feel good.  

Remember that when you’re kind, you improve your own health and the health of those around you!