THE SIDE EFFECTS OF KINDNESS
When we are kind to ourselves and to others we create beneficial side effects.
Dr David Hamilton author of “How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body” studied the effects of kindness on individuals, noted the following benefits of being kind:
1) Kindness makes us happier.
When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good. On a spiritual level, many people feel that being kind is the right thing to do and so we're tapping into something deep within us.
On a physical or biochemical level, it is believed that the good feelings we get when we practise kindness is due to elevated levels of the brain's natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids.
Allan Luks In his book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, came up with the term ”helper’s high” to describe the good feelings experience in our body after doing something nice for someone and the brain releases a happiness chemical called dopamine when we do a kind act.
2) Kindness promotes a healthier heart & reduces anxiety
Acts of kindness is often accompanied with a feeling called “Emotional warmth”.
This feeling produces the hormone oxytocin not just in the brain and but throughout the body.
Oxytocin also plays a significant role in our cardiovascular system. Oxytocin promotes the release of nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates or expands our blood vessels. This expansion of blood vessels reduces blood pressure and protects our hearts by lowering blood pressure. Research has also proven that oxytocin reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and this slows down the ageing process at its source.
3) Kindness makes for better relationships
Human beings are wired to be kind and we all like it when people treat us with kindness. Kindness promotes connection and reduces the emotional distance between people.
Our ancestors had to learn to cooperate and work together to survive and being part of the tribe was essential to survival. Today, we live a different type of lifestyle and we don’t really need the tribe to survive. But more and more studies have shown that people are craving for connection and technology has come between the face-to-face connection that we were so used to in the past.
So make time and go out, spend more face-to-face time with your friends, make time to help a neighbour and someone in need. The more we connect with one another the strong the friendships and relationships formed. The more we connect with someone the more kindness we practise.
4) Kindness is contagious.
Acts of kindness have a ripple effect and when we are kind we encourage others to be kind to. Kindness is contagious. When you walk down a street and smile to Being kind is easy, it is as easy at smiling at a stranger that we pass by on the street and that smile will spread.
When we're kind, we inspire others to be kind, and it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends' friends' friends -- to three degrees of separation. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards, touching others' lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes.
We can show and convey kindness in many ways:
Giving a loved one a hug
Smiling at a stranger
Helping someone cross the road
Listening to a coworker who needs a shoulder to cry on.
Praising a child for doing a good deed.
Giving someone a gift
Volunteering your time.
The purer your motive for being kind, the greater the effect it will have. When we genuinely help others without expecting a reward in return, the greater the ripple effects will be.
So go ahead and do yourself a favour. First start by practising being kind to yourself. Say kind words to yourself and then pass on that same kindness to others. We cannot give what we don’t have. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves first before we can spread that kindness around. Kindness starts from within.