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The Health Benefits of Kindness

The beautiful truth about kindness is it makes two people feel better; the giver and the receiver.  On the other hand, a lack of kindness can have the opposite effect.  We live in a world full of modern technology and sensational doom and gloom style news headlines. A new normal has set in our lives such as remote work, remote school, a mask to cover our smiles, text messages instead of phone calls, and many more examples of changes our society is undergoing. We are more connected than ever, yet less relational and human than we used to be.  Webster’s dictionary defines kindness as “a sympathetic or helpful nature that arises from a patient character.”  To take it further, kindness comes from a place of generosity, gentleness, love, and respect.  A simple act of kindness costs us nothing and yet it has the potential to change someone’s life, or at least, their day.   What if we all took on the responsibility of being the kindness we wanted to see in the world?  What if we looked at it as a beauty, and not a duty?  Consider this:  “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. -Aesop

Have you heard of the “science of kindness” before?  You may be surprised to learn multiple studies already confirm the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits that kindness brings to the table. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable treatment methods around!  According to the Mayo Clinic,  kindness has been shown to increase self-esteem, empathy, compassion, and improve mood. It can decrease blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone, which directly impacts stress levels. People who give of themselves in a balanced way also tend to be healthier and live longer.”  They also go on to say kindness can positively change your brain. Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up. Endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killer, also can be released.”

This is more than a behavior.  It is a culture that can edify us and those around us, but we must get into the practice of asking ourselves, what act of kindness can I perform for my fellow man and woman today?  Those who we influence will then carry this compassionate torch to others, creating a chain reaction that can promote good health to everyone it is sent out to.  If you are unsure of how to get started, remember this:  “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”  -William Arthur Ward.  If you take that leap of faith and spread the free gift of kindness around each day wherever you go, do not be surprised if you grow richer, healthier, and more fulfilled than you could have ever imagined!  

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