Pay it Forward: the Power of Random Acts of Kindness
February 12-18 is Random Acts of Kindness Week
Most of us go through times when our happiness could use a boost. Did you know there is a week officially designated to promote and encourage people to engage in random acts of kindness? Research has shown that engaging in acts of kindness can help to reduce stress and pain, and has many other positive effects on our emotional well-being.
Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!
“About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.” CHRISTINE CARTER, UC BERKELEY, GREATER GOOD SCIENCE CENTER
A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver.
A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. University of British Columbia Study
Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.
Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
For more info on how practicing random acts of kindness can increase your own happiness as well as that of others you can check out:
For more information on how practicing kindness can increase your happiness and that of others, please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.
In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.
This content was last modified on: 01/31/2017