Why kindness matters to your well-being
Kindness is defined as a behaviour marked by ethical characteristics, a warm and pleasing disposition, and a genuine concern for others. It is often considered a virtue, however, it also has an unfair association with nativity and weakness. On the contrary, kindness requires a strength of character and a strong sense of oneself. Furthermore, practising kindness daily can have incredible benefits on your well-being and happiness. In fact, research by John Gottman found that kindness is one of the most important predictors of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Moreover, kind people enjoy increased energy, happiness and serotonin levels, as well as lower levels of stress, anxiety and blood pressure, according to a survey conducted by Random Act of Kindness.
As this research suggests there are many advantages to practising kindness in your daily life. Whilst it is important that daily kindness is done without the hope that you can gain something from it, it is also wonderful to remind ourselves of the power of something as simple as kindness.
Here are the 4 top benefits of being kinder every day:
- Kindness makes you happier
There is a natural high that floods our being when we do something nice for someone else. Even something as simple as holding the door open for a colleague at work can make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. On a biochemical level this natural high is often referred to as ‘Helper’s High,’ and it is suggested that this good feeling comes from elevated levels of dopamine in the brain. Simply put, kindness make you happier.
- Kindness is contagious
By performing an act of kindness you are not just benefitting yourself, you are also affecting the people around you. According to research from Dartmouth College people who witness an act of kindness experienced an improved mood and are more likely to be kind to others. Therefore, every time you are kind to another people you are also paying it forward and passing on the kindness to the people around you.
- Kindness helps you age better
To be kind is often associated with a warmth of character. This is important as emotional warmth has wonderful effects on your heart and the bodies ageing. As acts of kindness and emotional warmth produce the hormone oxytocin in the brain. Research from the American Journal of Physiology suggests that this hormone reduces levels of inflammation in the cardiovascular system and in turn slows ageing in the body.
- Kindness has long-term effects
Kindness is the gift that keeps on giving. Research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that kindness has long-term effects on both happiness and kindness, finding that there is a ‘positive feedback loop,’ between the two. In other words, kindnesses increase happiness, which increases a persons’ likelihood of being kind. In turn, their acts of kindness will inspire another person, who will inspire another, and so on and so forth. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
The benefits of kindness are manifold and in honour of World Kindness Day today, we wanted to share some with you.