13. Be kind
The Positive Effects of Kindness On Our Mental Health
JANUARY 23, 2018 | AIFC ADMIN
Making others feel good with kindness can be really rewarding by making us feel great about our actions as Christians for doing the right thing. Practicing kindness also has a profound effect our own mental & physiological health, helping us to become happier and compassionate towards others. Being kind to others has been known to help boost our own immune system, slow down aging, elevate our self esteem and improve blood pressure.
Both practicing and witnessing acts of kindness can help reduce blood pressure by producing oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone.’ Oxytocin causes the release of nitric acid in the blood vessels which effectively expands the blood vessels thus reducing blood pressure.’ Self-esteem, a better outlook on life (optimism) and a healthy heart are said to be the benefits of kindness. But it doesn’t stop there. Kindness has a positive effect on others that spreads.
Kindness is Contagious
Experiencing an act of kindness can improve our mood, it can make our day and increase the likelihood of spreading that kindness to others.
“It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” Dr. Ritchie Davidson, University of Wisconsin.
You can’t win a person over with hatred or indifference
“Kindness makes a person attractive. If you could win the world, melt it , do not hammer it.” Alexander McClaren
HERE IS A LIST ON THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF KINDNESS ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH
- Pain – kindness releases endorphins in the brain. It’s a natural painkiller.
- Stress – kind people age slower and have lower stress than the average person.
- Anxiety & Depression – kindness improves mood, depression, and anxiety. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which heals wounds, calms, and increases happiness.
- Blood Pressure – kindness helps release oxytocin, a ‘cardio protective’ hormone that releases another chemical called ‘nitric oxide in the body that dilates blood vessel, thus reducing blood pressure.
- Pleasure – elevated levels of dopamine in the brain causes pleasure/reward centres to light up. This is known as the ‘helpers high.’
- Self-Worth – kindness can make us not just feel good about ourselves, but begin to believe in ourselves, increasing our self-worth.
- Relationships – kindness helps improve relationships by reducing the distance between individuals.
How will you challenge yourself to do random acts of kindness during this month?
Cred. Dip. Couns. (Christian)
David R Hamilton, PhD., ‘The Five Side Effects of Kindness‘ (Hay House, February 2017).