A Random Act of Kindness is giving your best self to others without requests and without you doing it for anything in return.
The wonderful part of random acts of kindness is that there are not only benefits to the receiver but also to the giver. When we break down the benefits, we need to first look at the emotions that are associated with random acts of kindness. An important note is that emotional responses are based on whether they are normative or non-normative distinction.
- Recipients of kindness can feel loved.
- Recipients and givers of kindness can experience a sense of awe when they think about profound acts of love or virtue.
- Whether you are recipient or giver or merely just a witness you can feel the benefits of an increase in oxytocin. Oxytocin is commonly called the “love hormone” and this helps to lower blood pressure, improve overall heart health, increase self-esteem and optimism.
- Kindness can increase the feeling of strength and energy due to helping others.
- Kindness can also make one feel calmer.
- Less depressed.
- Increased feelings of self-worth.
- For those that volunteer their time or money for charitable causes, they often have fewer aches and pains.
- Kindness is most similar to a medical anti-depressant. Kindness pushes your body to produce serotonin, which is commonly known as the “feel-good” chemical that provides healing and calming feelings.
- Kindness decreases pain, by generating endorphins (the brain’s natural painkiller).
- Stress, it has been shown that people that are more kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population.
- Anxiety, the University of British Columbia did a study on a group of highly anxious individuals in which they performed at least 6 acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.
- Depression is reduced, mortality is delayed, and well-being and good fortune are improved when we give of ourselves.
- Lowering blood pressure from giving acts of kindness, creates emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure, and therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
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Source: Positive Psychology