5 Ways Being Kind is Good for Your Health

World Kindness DayHappy World Kindness Day!  We can all agree that being kind is a great way to build community, enhance the lives of others and create an positive feeling for all. But, did you know that being kind is actually good for our emotional and  physical health?  While we know you don’t need any more reasons to be kind to others today, here are some ways in which being kind makes you a healthier person:

Improves our Cardiovascular Health
This positive behavior will help you have a better cardiovascular health. Every time you do a simple act of kindness, your body produces Oxytocin, known as the bonding hormone. This causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels, thus it reduces your blood pressure, so you could say that Oxytocin is also a cardio-protective hormone. (via Lifestyle.AllWomensTalk.com)

Helps Us Relieve Stress
At Emory, researchers studied beginners who were given a brief course in compassion meditation. The subjects were then placed in stressful situations in the lab, including having a TV camera pointed at them.   The scientists found that the meditators released significantly lower doses of a stress hormone called cortisol. In other words, practicing compassion appeared to be helping their bodies handle stress in a better way. This is consequential because frequent or persistent release of cortisol can lead to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer and depression. (via ABCNews)

Creates a ‘Natural High’
A 2005 study from Hebrew University in Israel found a link between kindness and a gene that releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.   Research by Alan Luks in his 1991 book,  The Healing Power of Doing Good, found that helpers reported a distinct physical sensation when being kind. Many reported feeling more energetic, warm, calmer and greater self-worth, a phenomenon he calls the “helper’s high.” (via Reader’s Digest)

Allows Us to become Happier People
“People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. “When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person — more moral, optimistic, and positive,” she says. Lyubomirsky has studied happiness for over 20 years.  Her research, presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans, found that performing other positive acts once a week led to the most happiness. (via Huffington Post)

Increases our Life Expectancy
If people are kind they live healthier lives. There are numerous scientific studies which show that people who practice kindness and compassion have better general health and live longer. The inner glow you get from doing something nice boosts mental wellbeing too. (via The Telegraph)

What will you be doing today to celebrate World Kindness Day?