Improve Your Wellbeing With Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are those things we do solely to help or benefit others without any expectation of anything in return. Performing acts of kindness in our quest for happiness is one that is proven to work.
But why should performing random acts of kindness be considered a form of self-care? The answer is simple. Kindness not only benefits the recipient but has positive benefits for the giver as well.
According to a Cedars-Sinai article and research undertaken by Dartmouth University, the release of the brain chemicals associated with an act of kindness not only improves your mood, but improves your overall wellbeing as well.
Acts of kindness have been proven to increase:
- Production of oxytocin (the love hormone)
- Pleasure (also known as 'the helper's high)
- Serotonin levels ( the happy hormone)
Acts of kindness have also demonstrated a decrease in:
- Blood pressure
So what is going on inside your brain when you perform a random act of kindness? Let's explore this a little further.
The 'love hormone' oxytocin assists us in forming social bonds and trust as well as making us friendlier and more generous. The release of oxytocin has also been demonstrated to lower blood pressure.
The 'helper's high' is thought to result from the release of dopamine in the brain. This release causes a sense of euphoria hence the term 'helper's high'.
The 'happy hormone' serotonin, helps regulate mood.
There is a little bit of bad news though. The effects from the release of these hormones is short lived. You need to be perform acts of kindness regularly to feel the ongoing benefits.
So what are the other benefits of random acts of kindness and why should it be part of your self-care routine? Let's have a look.
- Performing random acts of kindness helps build self-esteem. It challenges your internal dialogue that tells you that you're not good enough.
- Random acts of kindness provide perspective. Helping someone less fortunate than yourself will have you seeing your life through a different lens. You will have a new view on the many positives in your life.
- Being kind promotes gratitude. 'There for the grace of God go I'. By seeing and responding to the difficulties that others face, you will not only appreciate that these things can happen to you as well but also gain a sense of gratitude for your own set of circumstance and good fortune.
- It improves your empathy and compassion towards others and yourself. When you show kindness to others, you are more likely to be gentler and more compassionate to yourself.
- Kindness is contagious! Monkey see, monkey do. Whether you are trying to instil kindness in your children or those around you, research has shown that those who witness an act of kindness are more likely show kindness themselves, creating a 'pay it forward' mentality.
Friday, 13th November is World Kindness Day. Challenge yourself to perform a random act of kindness to celebrate!
For tips and ideas, checkout these sites:
Together we can create stronger communities, a better world and better selves through random acts of kindness.
We'd also love to hear how you have been affected by a random act of kindness. Drop us a line in the comments below.