Kindness Works ~ Acts of Kindness are Powerful!

The research is piling up: Studies have found that being kind can help lower blood pressure and anxiety. Practicing helping behaviors even lessened symptoms of depression in people who had lost a spouse. Experiments show that doing something kind for someone is more likely to boost your mood and lower your stress than doing something for yourself. Plus, a recent sweeping review of data including nearly 200,000 study participants found that prosocial behavior (things like donating money to charity, volunteering, altruism, trust, and compassion) was linked to better physical and mental health.

What makes acts of kindness so powerful? “Each small daily choice we make either nurtures our emotional well-being or aggravates stress, and that helps or hinders our physical health,” Dr. Harding says. Practicing kindness is on the helping side of that equation.

We know kindness triggers a neurochemical response, explains Waguih IsHak, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and editor of The Handbook of Wellness Medicine. Oxytocin and dopamine (two feel-good hormones) get released, and cortisol (a hormone related to stress) falls.

Source: DIGIULIO, S. (2021). HOW KINDNESS CHANGES US. (Cover story). Prevention, 73(12), 28–34.

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