Why acts of kindness make us happier

Act Of Kindness
The Psychology and Science of Kindness

It is commonly known that demonstrating kindness positively correlates to our own happiness. If you’ve ever found yourself looking around at our cutthroat world and wondered about the value of kindness, recent research out of Oxford University is for you. Using rigorous science, researchers there proved that by practicing just seven days of small, random acts of kindness is enough to bring significantly more joy to your life.

Kindness is interesting, in that unlike an emotion such as happiness, or a feeling and action like gratitude, kindness is mostly a behaviour or action. Through years of experience, we each have been trained in our thoughts and perspectives of what kindness is, what it means, what the intention behind someone’s kindness is (PositivePsychology.com). So, get kind more often and enjoy the benefits of how it makes you, and those around you, feel.

Benefits of exhibiting kindness
  • Whether we are recipient or giver or merely just a witness of kindness we can feel the benefits of an increase in oxytocin. Oxytocin is commonly called the “love hormone” and this helps to lower blood pressure, improve overall heart health, and increase optimism;
  • Kindness can increase the feeling of strength and energy due to helping others;
  • Kindness can also make us feel calmer and less depressed and increase feelings of self-worth;
  • Those that volunteer their time or money for charitable causes, often have fewer aches and pains;
  • Kindness is most similar to a medical anti-depressant. Kindness pushes our body to produce serotonin, which is commonly known as the “feel-good” chemical that provides healing and calming feelings;
  • Kindness decreases pain, by generating endorphins (the brain’s natural painkiller);
  • Stress, it has been shown that people that are more kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population;
  • Depression is reduced, mortality is delayed, and well-being and good fortune are improved when we give of ourselves;
  • Acts of kindness creates increased levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure, and therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” (Heart) hormone.
Here’s how

A great way of learning about kindness and the benefits for both the recipient and the giver is to practice it.

General: 5 Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Ideas

  1. When in line to get your morning coffee, pay for the person behind you;
  2. Compliment the first two strangers you come into contact with each day;
  3. Send positive text messages to 4 people each morning;
  4. Donate items in your home that you haven’t used in the past year;
  5. When at the store, leave any extra unused coupons next to the appropriate products for someone else to use.

At Work: 3 RAK for Employees and Co-Workers

  1. Send an out-of-the-blue gratitude email to a co-worker and let them know how grateful you are for them;
  2. When on a team call, do a heartfelt shout-out to one of your co-workers that has done an awesome job;
  3. Get your workplace in on the action, and organize a fundraiser or charity drive;
  4. Help others connect by using your personal network and share with a co-worker;
  5. Let your boss know that you appreciate them and the way they _______ (you fill in the blank)

At School: 3 RAK for kids

  1. Sit with a new kid at school;
  2. At the end of the school day, tell your teacher thank you for a great day of learning;
  3. When you get home from school, tell your parents or guardian how much you missed them.

At Get Mentally Fit, we are privileged to have a business that is based on using our professional skills to kindly support clients achieve a greater level of mental fitness. We facilitate this via our programs and services, which have a unique focus of educating people on effective thinking, which positively correlates with healthy behaviours.

We find that mental health education is so focused on the ‘what’ that the ‘how’ is often overlooked. It is essential that the ‘how’, and the ‘why’, for positive change is explored in depth and evidence-based practical exercises and professional support are in place to support client success. The aim for our clients is that they realise and enjoy the profound benefits of regenerative mental fitness.

Contact us to find out how we can support you to skilfully cultivate your thinking so you will enjoy a happier and healthier personal and professional life.

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