my secret sauce to a healthy, happy life
Six years ago I started writing “be kind” at the top of my daily to do list, it’s a gentle reminder to always lead with kindness even in the most testing situations and in the face of some not so kind people. This seemingly small daily habit may have been the most impactful on my health and happiness. It’s a consistent daily practice to try to balance standing up for myself and responding to bullies, whilst being sure to keep in the kind and compassionate lane. I highly recommend joining this immensely rewarding challenge, the rewards far outweigh the work.
If you need motivational fodder on those more ‘testing’ days it’s helpful to know that being kind has many benefits not only on an emotional and social level, but also on a biological and chemical level. Research has shown that acts of kindness can produce positive changes in the brain and body, which in turn will improve our overall health and well-being.
On the emotional and social level here are some key evident rewards:
- Creates a positive atmosphere: When you are kind and do the right thing, you create a positive atmosphere that can be contagious. Others are likely to respond in kind, which can create a positive and uplifting environment.
- Builds trust: Kindness and doing the right thing can also help to build trust. People are more likely to trust and respect individuals who are consistently kind and ethical in their actions.
- Improves relationships: Kindness and doing the right thing can also improve relationships. When you are kind to others, they are more likely to feel valued and appreciated, which can lead to stronger and more positive relationships.
- Increases self-esteem: Being kind to others can also increase your own self-esteem. When you make a positive impact on the world, it can give you a sense of purpose and fulfilment, which can boost your self-esteem.
- Creates a positive cycle: Finally, kindness and doing the right thing can create a positive cycle. When you are kind to others, they are more likely to be kind to you, and this cycle of kindness can continue to spread and have a positive impact on everyone it touches.
So, by creating a positive atmosphere, building trust, improving relationships, increasing self-esteem, and creating a positive cycle, kindness and doing the right thing can have a profound and transformative impact on our lives and the world around us.
There are also proven benefits to being kind on a physical, psychological, and at a biochemical level for our overall health. Here’s how:
- Increases Oxytocin: Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, is released in the brain when we engage in acts of kindness and compassion. Oxytocin has been shown to have a number of benefits for our health, including reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and improving heart health.
- Reduces Stress: Research has shown that when we engage in acts of kindness, it can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating our stress response. It can also help to reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone released in response to stress, and high levels of cortisol have been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease and depression. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system and reducing cortisol levels, kindness and compassion can help to reduce stress and promote overall health.
- Boosts Immunity: Acts of kindness and compassion have been shown to boost immunity by increasing levels of antibodies and immune cells in the body. This can help to protect against illness and disease, and improve overall health and well-being.
- Improves Mood: This one is pretty self explanatory, but you will most definitely notice a change in your default mood setting when you are consistently kind and compassionate in your everyday life, towards people, animals and planet. One of the main ways that kindness affects us on a biochemical level is by increasing the release of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These chemicals play a crucial role in regulating our mood, reducing stress and anxiety, and boosting our sense of happiness and well-being.
In conclusion, the benefits of being kind are numerous and far-reaching, affecting us on a physical, chemical, emotional, and social level. By incorporating acts of kindness into our daily lives, we can improve our overall health and well-being, as well as create a ripple effect that spreads positivity and happiness to those around us. What’s not to love?