The Health Benefits of Being Kind

Being Kind

Today, September 1, New Zealand is celebrating “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” In the US, we celebrate this “holiday” in February, but actually any day is a good day to show the world you care.

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“Imagine a world where people look out for each other. Where we all pay it forward. Where success is measured in selfless acts. Where kindness is the philosophy of life.” This is the motto of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, an internationally recognized nonprofit headquartered in Denver, CO. They are dedicated to inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others.

A Free Natural Health Cure
If you are looking for an inexpensive natural health cure, we have it here. Kindness is free. The simple act of kindness has the following health benefits:

• Kindness increases oxytocin, commonly known as the “love hormone.” While it does increase positive feelings such as self-esteem and optimism, it also creates real positive physical change by lowering blood pressure and improving heart-health.

• Kindness increases energy. In one study, about 50% of participants reported feeling stronger and more energetic after helping others, says UC Berkeley’s Christine Carter.

• Kindness could increase your lifespan. People 55 and older who volunteer had up to a 44% lower likelihood of dying early in one study. “This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week,” says Carter.

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• Kindness decreases pain due to the increase of endorphin levels.

• Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol, the stress hormone. Remember that cortisol also plays a role in weight gain!

• A 2010 Harvard Business School survey found that people who were charitable were among the happiest people in the world.

Kindness and Compassion do not need to take a lot of extra time or money. It does, however, take a little bit of effort – but one in which everyone around you will reap the benefits. RAK notes that kindness is contagious – everyone who witnesses the act experience positive changes in the brain, instantly improving their mood and increasing their desire to “pay it forward.”

Today, find a way to spread around a little kindness. If you have a little extra money this month, consider buying someone’s dinner or even just a cup of coffee. If you don’t, remember that kindness can be relatively simple as well: Leave an anonymous note for someone, give someone who looks like they are feeling down a little smile, help someone who is struggling with groceries to their car. Need some more ideas? Visit www.randomactsofkindness.org.

And remember: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” (Leo Buscaglia)

Photo Credit: By Shenandoah National Park from Virginia via Wikimedia Commons

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