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The science-backed benefits that random acts of kindness have on your health

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Whilst we’re all for helping others it turns out that by doing just that you’re also helping yourself. Spreading kindness doesn’t just benefit the receiver, it’s scientifically proven that the giver also receives a plethora of health benefits, from longevity to heart health. Here’s five reasons why a little kindness goes a long way.

1 Happy heart

Performing acts of kindness gives you the warm and fuzzies, quite literally, by causing the release of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone, which according to Dr David R. Hamilton causes blood vessels to expand reducing blood pressure.1

Dr Hamilton continues that the benefits of oxytocin also help improve overall heart health. According to Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness "giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease."2

2 Kind mind

They don’t call it the "helpers high" for no reason. A Harvard Business School Survey of participants from 136 countries discovered that people who are altruistic (such as those who frequently gave financial charitable donations) were amongst the happiest.3 A separate study by Emory University found that your brain’s pleasure and rewards centre lights up when you do a good deed.4

3 Confidence boost

Kindness has also been shown to produce serotonin, the feel good hormone which fuels energy, boosts self esteem and has a calming effect. A study by Berkeley showed that almost 50 per cent of people felt stronger and more confident and energetic after helping others with everyday tasks.5

4 Longevity

"People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more." Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness explains.2

5 Stress less

According to the Journal of Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, kind people have 23 per cent less cortisol (the stress hormone).6

Fun fact: did you know that kindness is contagious? Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University explains "one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!"7

Sources

1 https://drdavidhamilton.com/the-5-side-effects-of-kindness/

2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345515625/?tag=wwwinccom-20

3 https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/11-038.pdf

4 http://www.ccnl.emory.edu/Publicity/MSNBC.HTM

5 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1207/s15327558ijbm1202_4

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9737736

7 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kindness-contagion/




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