We all remember the cardinal rule: treat others the way you want treatment. Although this is an old proverb that we learn from an early age, the way we treat others has several real-life benefits associated with it. Research shows that as kids, we are biologically programmed to be kind, and with repeated practise, we can cultivate this trait even farther.
But sometimes we can lose this inherent ability due to outside influences and the stress of our daily lives. A significant reason people might feel separated from their innately compassionate traits is that the negative narratives and images displayed on our social media feeds are very influential. Our system is wired to be kind, and we are also programmed to recognize and respond to threats. Relentless negative images, life stories detach us from one another. Things like ego, fear, anger, and covetousness all make people think they need to protect ourselves from others.
Kids, animals and even insects have a need for connection. Considering how substantial and powerful the desire for connection is, the only logical conclusion is that our biology is wrapped with the need to connect meaningful way with other living creatures. The part of the brain linked with the experience of social pain or loss is the same as the one experiencing physical pain. This illustrates in detail why emotional loss is so hurtful, and isolation is such a heavy punishment in the federal prison.
Kindness and empathy enable us to relate to others and also to have positive relationships with friends, family and perhaps even perfect strangers we encounter in our everyday lives. But in addition to just improved overall personal relationships, kindness can certainly make you healthier. Here are six tips to change your health through kindness, supported by science.
Kindness releases hormones which make you feel good
Have you already noticed that it makes you feel better when you do something nice for someone else, too? It isn’t just something which takes place at random. It is about the centres of pleasure in your brain. Doing good things for someone stimulates your serotonin, the neurotransmitter accountable for feelings of well-being and fulfilment. Like exercise, altruism also releases endorphins, a mechanism which is known as the helper’s high. So go forward and volunteer, help those in need, purchase some coffee or lunch, or try one of those ideas. It might just be the pick-me-up you can provide.
Kindness helps relieve anxiety
Anxiety is a relatively common human emotion, even if it’s a mild nervousness or a severe panic. Although there are many ways to minimize stress, including meditation, workout, antidepressants and natural therapies, it turns out that being friendly to others is one of the easiest, most affordable methods to keep anxiety at bay. A University of British Columbia’s (UBC) study on happiness claims: “social anxiety is associated with low positive affect (PA), a factor that can significantly affect psychological well-being and adaptive functioning.” The positive effect refers to an individual’s experience of positive emotions like joy, interest, and alertness.
Researchers at UBC found that subjects engaging in kind activities experienced substantial PA increment prolonged over the study of four weeks. Indeed look for opportunities to help others the next time you are feeling a little stressed. It might range from smiling at somebody, or calling a friend, to volunteer work, or giving an organization your time. Even a simple gesture can make a significant difference.
Being kind is great for the heart
Seeking to make others feel better can certainly “warm” your heart while being superior to others can also affect your heart’s actual chemical balance. Kindness activates oxytocin into the hormone. Dr David Hamilton explains, “oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure).” Kindness strengthens your heart both physically and emotionally. Maybe that’s why they’re saying generous and caring people have big hearts.
It could help you to live longer
At this one, you might shake your head, but we’re not just believing this — there’s a science to back up that statement. According to researcher Dr John Cacioppo, if you don’t have a big family and friends network, you are at a greater risk for heart disease. You develop solid, meaningful relationships and friendships when you’re kind to others. So, go on and make some new friends, or expand your kindness and compassion to those you have already. We are continually seeking ways to reduce anxiety in our busy, forever-on-the-go lives. This could be easier than we suppose.
Willingness to help others allows you to get out of yourself and take a pause in your own life from the stress factors, and this behaviour can also succeed in making you better prepared to deal with stressful situations. Affiliative conduct is any conduct that builds relationships with others. A study into the effects of prosocial behaviour on stress says, “affiliative behaviour may be an important component of coping with stress and indicate that engaging in prosocial behaviour (action intended to help others) might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress on emotional functioning.”
Kindness prevents sicknesses
Body inflammation is associated with all kinds of health problems, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, overeating, as well as migraine headaches. According to a study of 57-85 year-olds, “volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.” Oxytocin also decreases inflammation, and perhaps even small acts of kindness can stimulate the production of oxytocin.
Kindness can be the magic ingredient to a happy, healthy life. But take not our word for it. Share a smile, donate, volunteer, or help others. Then let us know what you feel! So if you’d like to give a considerably better 2020 to yourself, your relatives, your society and even random people, try more kindness. If you get better at understanding how interconnected we are, you will soon understand how simple it is to be compassionate.