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Health Benefits of Kindness

Health Benefits of Kindness

Have you been the recipient of some surprise kindness this week? Maybe you owe it to the fact that it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week. What a very nice week. In thinking about kindness and why it feels so good, I visited the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website and discovered that numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental. In the book The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others, Allan Luks talks about these benefits of helping other.

• A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.

• Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc. A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.

• Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.

• A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain can occur.

• The incidence of attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body is reduced.

• The health benefits and sense of well-being return for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.

• An increased sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism, as well as a decrease in feelings of helplessness and depression, is achieved.

• Once we establish an “affiliative connection” with someone–a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding–we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.

• The practice of caring for strangers translates to immense immune and healing benefits.

• Adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of mental health.

Read more: Community Service, Do Good, General Health, Health, , , , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

31 comments

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1:26AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Like attracts Like..The Law of Kindness and Attraction.
Teresa, you might think its C*** but living negatively you will never see. I am sure with all my heart that if you did do something for someone, something will happen NOT from that person but in a way you least expected it too. Manifesting is awesome. I have manifested by giving to people, even a simple hug or listened to their problems or I have done something spontaneous to put smiles on peoples faces. Everyone can do that!

1:25AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Being kind is within you like being unkind is too. To give unconditionally is one of the most magical meaningful things one can do for another either known or unknown and to give it without strings attached is your bonus. Why? Well when you give without thinking cool I ll get something back, you wont! Thats how the Universe works it or how it goes. I know before giving to someone known or unknown I will never per ce get something back from them either at that moment or later. Im not looking. However, friends do usually. So you give with a kind heart and soul but you will always be rewarded and if you think about someone or something you need and I dont mean tattslotto or someone buying you the most expensive car. You have to be realisitic. I have done this so often it comes 2nd nature to me. I also 'trade bart' that is after I have promoted kindness and I really never think about it till after I have done a kind gesture. OR I ask for something to happen and trade bart at that time meaning i will say out aloud that I will do XY and Z if I could have something to appear or to happen. It happens all the time If you dont believe and think its barrrrr humbug, then it will usually wont work but if you are open to receive and 'see' and be aware of what is happening then you will see how magical it is to be kind Remember kindness attracts kindness as it does with Kind people attract Kind people. Like attracts Like..The Law of Kindness and Attraction.
Teresa, you might think its C*

6:13PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Thanks

8:15PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Practice kindness daily by:

- baking cookies for your neighbor or loved ones
- donating toys
- donating food to a food pantry for needy families
- getting rid of your junk and donating to charity
- babysit your loved ones children so their parents can take a break for about 1 or 2 hours
- grow roses in your garden and give them as gifts to your friends and loved ones once they bloom
- mail a handwritten letter or greeting card to brighten someone's day
- visit an elderly person in a nursing home.

8:11PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

@Teresa W. if you're expecting something in return when you help someone, then it's best not to do anything for them if you feel that way. I used to feel the same way with my sister. I would help her out and instead of her showing appreciation and gratitude towards me, she responds back by saying, "I never asked you to help me. Do what you want. No one made you." There are some people who don't deserve help but there are plenty of others who do and who will appreciate you for your kindness, those are the people you should focus your energy on.

6:54PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Thanks

9:16AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing this entertaining article with us.

9:15AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing this entertaining article with us.

12:40AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

I think this is the reward when we do share with other people. This is absolutely the hidden benefits to our health.

Sincerely,
naturalantiinflammatory

4:37AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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