Why Kindness Is Good For You
Tuesday 13th November 2012 is World Kindness Day.
There has been extensive scientific research detailing the positive effects of kindness on our health – both psychological and physiological. Performing an act of kindness – in particular one that involves a positive social interaction such as eye contact, bonding, or making a connection with someone – causes our body to release the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has been credited with numerous body-and-mind benefits, including: giving us healthier hearts; improving our relationships with other people; making us feel happier; and slowing down the ageing process.
Kindness is also contagious. Being kind to another person often has a far-reaching and extensive ripple effect – the person on the receiving end of the kindness feels better, which in turn positively alters their behaviour towards others, which makes those people feel better, and so on… So actually, every single act of kindness that you perform makes the world a better place a little bit at a time.
Everyone’s idea of ‘kindness’ is different, and being kind doesn’t necessarily have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Here are some ideas you could try:
- Let someone in front of you when you are standing waiting in a queue
- Buy a lottery ticket and leave it taped to a pay and display machine in a public car park
- Give someone a hug
- Buy a sandwich and a hot drink for a homeless person
- Pay someone a compliment
- When you buy a coffee from a coffee shop, pay for the person behind you as well
- Smile at someone
- Help an elderly person across the road
- Volunteer an hour of your time at a charity or local school
- Do a small favour for someone that means a lot to them (give them a lift somewhere, pick up their shopping etc)
In my work as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, I regularly give clients the task of performing daily random acts of kindness for many; it takes their focus off of themselves and how they’ve been feeling up until now, and by directing their attention outwards towards other people, it helps them to realise that they do have an important role to play in the world, that they are worthwhile, and that they are good people. It also gives them a much-needed dose of all the hormones necessary to lift their moods and enables them to begin to look at life in a more positive way.
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