Why Kindness Matters
Why Kindness Matters
So, it turns out that being kind to someone else not only benefits the recipient, it benefits the giver too!
The affects of kindness to others may be apparent. It’s not hard to imagine making someone’s day by holding the door open, giving a compliment or buying lunch. But what we now know is that the giver reaps some of the same psychological benefits as the receiver.
Those on the giving and receiving end of kindness benefit from an increase of serotonin, which speeds healing, calms us and makes us happier. Every act of kindess also produces endorphines, the body’s natural painkiller. Does some of this sound familiar? These are some of the same feel-good chemicals our bodies release when we exercise. They make us feel less stressed, more virile and strengthen our immune system.
Be Kind Without Leaving Your Chair!
Although being out in the world offers endless opportunities to be kind to others, the perks are available without even leaving the comfort of your home. Turns out Lovingkindness meditation affects the giver in much the same way as the “doing” forms of kindness.
If you are not familiar with Lovingkindness meditation, it is the practice of wishing others well. Most often it involves thinking compassionately about others and repeating something like “May you feel safe, may you feel happy, may you feel healthy, may you live with ease.” This too might sound familiar. If you think back to the first email about Mindfulness, you might remember some of the incredible benefits of mindfulness…AKA meditation. This too reduces stress and subsequently improves health in many ways.
The Rare Occasion When Contagion
is a Good Thing.
Turns out that being kind to others is contagious. When someone is kind to us or we see others doing thoughtful things it increases the odds of us joining in the fun. We can even use our past acts of big-heartedness to increase our happiness. By remembering past kindnesses we can re-experience the positive emotions and this creates a kind of feedback loop connecting kindness and happiness.