Whether you’ve just spent the day volunteering, let someone in front of you in traffic, or paid for the person behind you in the coffee line, your act of kindness probably made someone’s day! But, did you know that practicing acts of kindness may improve your well-being too?
When we practice acts of kindness, the following can happen:
- We may experience the “helper’s high.” The same neural circuits involved in chemical “highs” are activated by kindness and compassion!
- Our pain may be reduced. Endorphins are released when we are kind to others, which can decrease physical pain.
- We may lower our blood pressure. Oxytocin gets released when we are kind to others which dilates the blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood pressure.
- Our stress levels may go down, which in turn enhances both physical and mental health.
- We may become happier. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical.
- Our lifespan may increase! “People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early!…This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”*