What is the science behind being kind? What benefits can kindness have over the course of a lifetime?
Here’s one thing we know: being kind to others makes us feel good.
We don’t need a scientific study to show us that. We’ve all experienced that warm fuzzy feeling that accompanies being a good samaritan.
Kindness is ingrained in our very DNA. It is a distinct part of what makes us human.
Sometimes social media or mainstream news makes it seem like we are staunchly divided. Quick to anger and arguments with others. Kindness completely thrown out the window.
But, this is an illusion. When we look at years and years of factual data we see the truth; the overwhelming majority of us are kind to one another time and time again.
And when we dive even deeper we can find a biological incentive for kindness; a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
Compassion and Health
A 2020 study found that helping others relieves acute physical pain, as well as chronic pain, like that found in cancer patients.
Being kind is directly related to lower stress levels which in turn can lower inflammation.
Harvard University funded a study that followed 13,000 people and found that those who spent more time helping others had a substantially reduced risk of mortality.
And finally, compassion for others has been shown to aid patients in fighting disease and accelerate the healing process.
The Key to Happiness
Altruism is often referred to as the secret ingredient to a happy life.
Doing nice things for others boosts serotonin levels in the brain. So much so, that you can experience something known as a “helper’s high” which is chemically similar to a “runners high.”
Practicing kindness lowers anxiety levels, and keeps them low for weeks.
And acts of compassion release oxytocin into the brain and body; also known as the love chemical.
Kindness = Success
A study published two weeks ago in the US National Academy of Sciences challenges the long-accepted idea that being ‘ruthless’ in business leads to success.
According to the study, which ran for over a decade, “deceitful and aggressive” individuals are no more likely to rise to positions of power in business than people who are “generous, trustworthy and kind”.
Moreover, according to Forbes magazine, kindness increases sales, boosts creativity, and motivates yourself and others.
And according to the Compassion in Politics campaign, Kindness is the key to driving progress within society.
Kindness is the gift that everyone can afford to give. It’s the path to a healthier, happier life and a more successful and progressive society.
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