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Being kind can actually make you healthier. Here are 5 science-backed benefits to prove it

Published on:7 July 2020, 16:12pm IST
Kindness helps us build positive relationships in our lives but it also has medically proven health benefits. Here is science-backed evidence to prove it.
Chetna Pattnaik
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One act of kindness can go a long way. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Ever heard someone say, “The best way to heal yourself is through the act of kindness.” It’s a fairly famous saying but very few know that there’s scientific evidence to back it up as well.

Science says that we’re biologically wired to be kind and this trait can be developed further through practice. However, with our stressful lifestyles and influence from our surroundings, we tend to forget this inherent trait.

Kindness and empathy help us build and sustain positive relationships with friends, family, and sometimes even with absolute strangers that we encounter in our daily lives. But it isn’t just confined to that. It actually helps us become healthier beings and there are medically substantiated claims to it. Let’s see how:

1. Acts of kindness boost your serotonin
When you do something nice for someone else, how does that make you feel? It feels good to have helped someone out, doesn’t it?

Well, the feeling isn’t random. You experience a phenomenon called “helper’s high.”

how to stay positive
Who knew that an act of kindness can boost our mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When you do nice things for others, it boosts your serotonin which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Much like working out, kindness also releases endorphins. It basically has to do with the pleasure centers of the brain.

So, go ahead and do something nice for somebody. It might just be the mood uplift you have been looking for.

2. Kindness increases immunity
Even little acts of kindness trigger a release of oxytocin in your body which reduces inflammation. Inflammation in the body is associated with all sorts of health problems such as diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines.

So altruism can actually help you lead a happier and healthier life.

3. Kindness is good for your heart
Kind people are always applauded as welcoming and warm-hearted people. If you thought that it was just a figure of speech then let us break that bubble for you.

break-up
No matter how tough it seems, it is possible to be happy again! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

The oxytocin (also known as a cardioprotective hormone) release that is triggered by acts of kindness leads to the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in your blood vessels. This hormone dilates the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

4. Kindness eases your anxiety
Whether it’s a mild nervousness or panic attack, anxiety is experienced by most of us. While there are hundreds of ways to reduce anxiety, ranging from meditation and exercise to therapy and medications, altruism has to be the most easily accessible and inexpensive way out.

Anxiety is associated with low positive affect, which is our experience of positive feelings of joy and happiness. This is a factor that can significantly affect your psychological well-being and adaptive functioning. Kindness significantly boosts that positive affect in your body.

5. It reduces stress
If you have been looking for ways to get rid of stress, trust us, it’s not that difficult.
When you take a break from your life and not think about the factors that are stressing you, and concentrate on helping somebody else, it is called an affiliative behaviour.

Also, listen:

Now, this may be an important component of coping with stress and indicate that engaging in altruistic behaviour might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress.

Kindness may be your magic potion to a healthy, happy life. This could range from smiling at someone or calling up a long-lost friend to volunteering. Even a small gesture can make a big difference both in your life and the lives of the ones around you.

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Chetna Pattnaik Chetna Pattnaik

Understanding fitness the hard way, Chetna has finally learnt to strike a balance between her protein shake and her beer and making room for her writing desk and her gym at the same time.