Did you know there is an official Random Acts of Kindness Week in February?
Don’t worry, you haven’t really missed it! There’s always time to go around performing random acts of kindness on unsuspecting (and lucky) people. Plus, it turns out that becoming a “RAKtivist” (a “Random Acts Of Kindness activist”) can actually boost your health! Check out these five health benefits that come from showing others love.
1. Less anxiety.
Yep, I knew those words would catch your attention. As humans who live in the year 2021, we are all familiar with the word “anxiety.” While there is certainly nothing wrong with using other remedies to decrease our stress levels, there’s a sweeter way: kindness!
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The University of British Columbia performed a study on happiness and discovered that “participants who engaged in kind acts displayed significant increases in [positive affect].”
“Positive affect” is our inclination to participate in our lives in a positive way. Couldn’t hurt to test this theory out!
2. Live longer.
This is another appealing health outcome, and there is actual scientific proof!
One study suggests that an act of kindness such as volunteering “is associated with reduced symptoms of depression, better self-reported health, fewer functional limitations, and lower mortality.” It has also been associated with reduced blood pressure and improved heart health.
3. Decrease your pain.
Sounds nuts, right? This study found that when people engaged in a generous activity such as donating money, it “relieved not only acutely induced physical pain among healthy adults but also chronic pain among cancer patients.”
How? It has to do with the activity in our brain that is triggered by kindness. This brain activity even lessened the subjects’ pain reaction to an electric shock!
4. Prevent illnesses.
Part of the proof behind kindness’ illness prevention is due to oxytocin, a hormone that reduces inflammation. When we perform small acts of kindness, it triggers oxytocin’s release.
This release lessens inflammation in the body, and inflammation is associated with medical issues like migraines, cancer, obesity, and diabetes, to name a hearty few. So the less inflammation we have, the better our health will be.
5. Boost your joy!
And finally, a good old boost of feel-good hormones, or what some refer to as the “helper’s high.” This explains the warm fuzzies we get when we do something nice for other people.
You see, the “helper’s high” is caused by a release of endorphins that occurs when we’re kind to others. It also causes an increase in serotonin, which improves our mood, helps us sleep, and even promotes healthy digestion.
With all this scientific evidence, it almost seems selfish to perform acts of kindness! But the joy of watching others experience our kindness is truly the greatest gift of all!
Do I have you convinced? Here’s a list of ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to get you started.
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