Kindness is when we do something to benefit someone else by helping them out in one way or another. However, even though kindness is more about the good we do unto others, being kind also benefits our health and well-being.
Here are some of the various ways.
1. Being kind relieves stress
Kindness has been found to lower the stress hormone, cortisol. It also improves our blood pressure. One study concluded that kindness promotes generosity, connection with others, and a feeling of inclusion, which ultimately can improve human resilience against stress. A distinction that needs to be made here is that the act of kindness isn’t what eliminates the stressor itself. However, it bolsters our ability to cope and respond more calmly when we are stressed.
2. Kindness improves anxiety and depression management
This is because being good to others (and yourself) can go a long way in maintaining good mental health. In one study, practising meditation that promotes positivity and kindness for yourself and others (rather than anger or self-loathing) was found to be effective in helping treat depression and social anxiety.
3. Kindness is good for the heart
The heart benefits in several ways from acts of kindness. The oxytocin hormone released during an act of kindness doesn’t stop at making us feel good; it also counteracts the effects of ageing on the arteries and blood vessels.
4. Kindness boosts immunity
Beyond improving heart health, oxytocin (our brain’s feel-good hormone) also reduces inflammation. Inflammation is linked to all kinds of diseases in the body, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines.
5. Being kind promotes happiness
Being kind — and recognizing when you are acting kind — is said to increase the feeling of happiness even when things may not be going your way.
6. Kindness Slows Ageing
Research now shows that oxytocin (that we produce through emotional warmth) reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and so slows ageing at the source.
7. Kindness improves relationships
We all go through hard times but when we are kind, it comes back in a way that helps us manage challenging situations. When you are kind, you’re less likely to bear your burdens alone because what goes around comes around.
In conclusion, we all need as much kindness as we can get. We all need to be extended grace for our shortcomings. We all need thoughtfulness in our times of need. And no matter how many friends we might have, we can always use another.